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Turkey's Efforts Against The Drug Problem

1. Turkey’s global approach to the fight against drugs:

Turkey is a leading country in the fight against the illegal trafficking of drugs.

Turkey’s global strategy on the fight against illicit trafficking of drugs is based on the principle that the issue can only be addressed by extensive cooperation, exchange of information and expertise within the international community. With this in mind, Turkey has signed and ratified all the relevant UN drug control treaties and also signed the “Agreement on illicit traffic by sea, implementing Article 17 of the United Nations Convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances” on 6 October 2004. In addition Turkey has concluded bilateral cooperation agreements with a large number of countries. “Agreement between the European Community and the Turkish Republic on Precursors and Chemical Substances frequently used in the illicit manufacture of narcotics drugs or psychotropic substances” entered into force on 28 April 2004.

Turkey is also taking active role and is contributing to the work of most relevant major international and regional platforms such as the UNODC (the Commission on Narcotic Drugs-CND, the Paris Pact), the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the Pompidou Group, the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

Turkey has become a member of the Group of Major Donors of the UNODC by increasing its voluntary contributions and has been re-elected as a member of the CND for the term 2006-2009. H.E Ambassador Sumru Noyan was appointed as the Chief of Operations Branch of the UNODC in 1994, Chief of External Relations and Fund Raising Branch in 1998. As a result of her achievements within the UNODC, Ambassador Noyan was assigned as the Director of the Division for Operations and the Deputy Executive Director of the UNODC in 2001. Duties of Ambassador Noyan has ended on 1 November 2006.

Furthermore, Prof. Sevil Atasoy was elected to a seat on the INCB for the term 2005-2010.

Turkey’s “Policy and National Strategy Document Counteracting Addictive Substances and Substance Addiction” for 2006-2012 entered into force on 20 November 2006. In order to prepare Action Plans in line with the said Strategy, 9 working groups have been created with the participation of relevant authorities. Besides, National Coordination Group holds meetings quarterly in order to finalize the Action Plans. The draft of first Action Plan has already been completed.

In 2000, with the support of the UNODC and the assistance of the US and some EU countries, Turkey has established the Turkish International Academy Against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC). Turkey’s contribution to TADOC serves as a good example of Turkey’s efforts for international cooperation in the combat against illicit drug trafficking. The Academy functions as a regional resource center and consultation forum for drug and organized crime related issues. So far, more than 1600 law enforcement personnel from UN, ECO and 57 countries from Central Asia, the Black Sea region, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Africa have received training at TADOC. In addition, TADOC organizes seminars and training programs on matters related to illicit drugs and crime, in cooperation with the United States, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Canada.

Recently, a simulation of a synthetic drugs laboratory has been established together with the Netherlands within TADOC. Through training programmes using this simulator, it is aimed that all law enforcement officials, national or international, who participate in the training programmes of TADOC, gain experience in the fight against precursors and synthetic drugs.

Two phases of the TADOC project has already been completed. Special importance is attached to Afghanistan at the third phase. Recently, the said project has been updated from national to regional status.

Turkey is in the process of joining the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). The agreement was initialed in Ankara, on 26 August 2004 and the accession treaty was signed on 30 September 2007.  TADOC has already been designated as the national focal point for the EMCDDA and a Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction for Turkey has been established within the Academy.

Turkey is well aware of the fact that combating illicit trafficking is only a part of the global drug problem. As long as illicit cultivation and demand remain high, it is difficult to succeed in overcoming this issue. With this in mind, Turkey shares the view that there is a need for pursuing a balanced approach to demand and supply.

Furthermore, Turkey, in cooperation with the UNODC, under the Global Assessment Program conducted a project entitled, “The National Study on Assessment of the Nature and Extent of Drug Abuse in Turkey”. This project provided the basis for the elaboration and implementation of effective demand reduction strategies in Turkey.

PKK/KONGRA-GEL, one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world, is a clear example of the interconnected nature of terrorism and transnational organized crime. This terrorist network is engaged in trafficking and marketing of drugs. PKK/KONGRA-GEL has an established infrastructure and network to produce, transport and traffic opiates and cannabis throughout Europe. Moreover, material evidence and intelligence sources have shown that the PKK/ KONGRA-GEL is also engaged in laundering money derived from human and drug trafficking. Therefore, Turkey is of the opinion that international cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking should also cover the cooperation and an integrated approach in the fight against terrorism.

2. Fight against Afghanistan originated drugs

Central Asia and especially Afghanistan are the regions where illicit cultivation is reported. Despite all international efforts, no success has been achieved in prevention of illicit narcotic substance trafficking. 87% of the opium illicitly produced in global scale is cultivated in Afghanistan. According to UNODC estimates, 90% of the heroin illicitly entering into Europe is of Afghanistan originated and total value of Afghanistan originated substance trade is around 30 billion US Dollars. It is evaluated that most of this amount is used for financing of terrorism. Turkey has welcomed and actively taken part in the initiative formulated under the Paris Pact which aims to identify weaknesses in strategies and shortfalls in interdiction capacity along the trafficking routes from Afghanistan to Europe. Turkey will continue its efforts relating to Afghanistan and identify appropriate projects for this country together with the UNODC. Turkey hosted the Paris Pact Round Table Meeting on trafficking routes in Southeast Europe of drugs originating from Afghanistan, in Istanbul, on 3-4 October 2005. This meeting has been a substantial step in terms of regional cooperation in the South Eastern Europe.

Three Expert Round Table consultations were conducted within the framework of the Paris Pact Initiative in 2007. The first was held in Vienna on 29-30 May 2007 with the theme “Targeting precursors used in heroin manufacture”. The theme of the second one was “Caspian Sea and Caucasian Regions” and held in Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan on 17-19 September 2007 and the last one which convened with the theme of “Afghanistan and neighbouring countries” was held in Kabul on 31 October-1 November 2007. The strategies adopted in the last expert round table consultation were brought together under the title “Rainbow Strategy”.

The 5th Paris Pact Consultative Policy Meeting took place in Vienna on 3-4 December 2007. During the meeting, the recommendations of the three Expert Round Table consultations that took place in 2007 were overviewed and adopted and the importance of targeting precursors in dealing the drug problem stemming form Afghanistan was emphasized.

Enhancing Counter Narcotics Enforcement Efforts in the Black Sea Region is the first 2008 priority of the Paris Pact Initiative.

Turkey also welcomed the “Paris 2-Moscow-1 Conference” held in Moscow, on 26-28 June 2006. Continuation of the Paris Pact Initiative will serve as a basis for better cooperation and dialogue between countries suffering from illicit drug trafficking.

Turkey believes that it is necessary to enhance cooperation against transit of drugs and to provide necessary assistance to the States most affected by illicit trafficking in strengthening their law enforcement capabilities and reducing the demand for illicit drugs.

In this regard, providing assistance to Afghanistan is essential. Turkey is well aware of the conditions in Afghanistan and gives utmost importance to provide assistance to Afghanistan.

Turkey welcomes the steps taken by the Afghan Government to combat this scourge and will continue her efforts and to identify appropriate projects together with the UNODC.

In this vein, 33 Afghan law enforcement personnel benefited from TADOC’s training programs in 2003-2004. In 2005, Turkish Government has allocated a fund for the counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan and 6 training programs have been planned for Afghan law enforcement officers. So far, five programs entitled “Law Enforcement in the Fight against Drug Trafficking”, “Train the Trainers” and “Tactical Police Operations” were concluded and 66 Afghan officers were trained in the Academy.

In addition to the training programmes conducted in the bilateral cooperation framework, a training programme as Turkey’s contribution within the NATO-Russia Council was organized for 19 Afghan law enforcement personnel in TADOC between 22 September-13 October 2006.

Furthermore, with the cooperation of US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Turkey has organized a “Train the Trainers” programme. 13 Afghan officers were benefited from the said program.

In order to prevent illicit trafficking of acetic anhydride to Afghanistan and to strengthen its borders with neighbouring countries; Turkey took part in “Operation Transshipment” launched by the UNODC. This operation consisted of two phases, namely training and operation. Turkey undertook the training phase in cooperation with the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Russian Federation. The training phase was launched at TADOC on 12 June 2006 and continued at the Kapıkule Border Gate between Turkey and Bulgaria. The operational phase started on 19 July 2006 and the relevant Turkish authorities participated in the operation at the border gates of Uzbekistan with their Uzbek counterparts.

Mr. Habibullah Qaderi, Minister of Counter-Narcotics of Afghanistan paid an official visit to Turkey on 23-25 November 2006. This visit strengthened the already existing cooperation in the fight against narcotics between Turkey and Afghanistan.