Poppy Ecologies And Security In Eurasia: Lessons From Turkey's Past And Present

Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)

Turkey, legally cultivated poppy fields yield a cash crop that is essential in the rural livelihoods of particular households and communities. Licensed farmers are able to earn far more from harvesting both poppy seeds and the remaining opiate-containing capsules that are sold to the state for use in the medical morphine industry than from any other crops. Although the cultivation of poppies in Turkey was once used for opium and heroin, among other commodities, a controlled reintroduction of poppies occurred in the 1970s following a nation-wide eradication program. Though the eradication program may be critiqued due to its geopolitical contexts and goals, the subsequent reintroduction of poppies and the emergence of this legal industry established a basis for ecological and economic stability at the scale of local communities. Moreover, for many Turkish farmers and others, it was regarded as a step towards the promotion of democracy at the scale of the nation-state. Relying on both fieldwork and archival research, this chapter looks at the historic and contemporary examples provided by Turkey and considers the ongoing challenges posed by poppies in the case of Afghanistan. Based on this review of these two different situations involving poppies, it is suggested that Turkey's instance provides powerful lessons for policy makers seeking to promote both security and sustainability throughout Eurasia and in Afghanistan, in particular.


Poppies opium political ecology sustainability security Turkey Afghanistan Eurasia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Michigan State UniversityGeography BuildingEast LansingUSA

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