Turkish Organised Crime: From Tradition to Business

Chapter
Part of the Studies of Organized Crime book series (SOOC, volume 11)

Abstract

Turkish organised crime has traditionally been defined in terms of its cultural legacies, ethnic and clan loyalties and the failings of a state still going through a difficult transition to modernity and all-too-willing to co-opt gangsters into the ‘deep state’ dominating politics behind the facade of democracy. However, a colourful and increasingly mythologized underworld of ‘old men’, feuds and blood oaths is being swept away by the pressures and opportunities of the contemporary world, especially one in which Turkey’s location makes it an ideal bridge to and from the European Union. While Turkish-based gangs have been involved in trafficking a wide range of illegal commodities, from human beings to stolen cars, they are above all connected with the narcotics business, especially Afghan heroin. Having become Europe’s wholesale suppliers of heroin, they have diversified into a range of associated activities, from money laundering to other drugs, including methamphetamine, cannabis and Latin American cocaine. In the process, the pursuit of profit has eroded old loyalties and clan- and family-based forms of organisation, leading to the rise of a business-minded criminal elite willing and able to forge alliances across ethnic and national divides (including old splits between Kurds and ethnic Turks). While still powerful, the Turkish gangs are thus much less distinctive in the modern, globalised underworld.

Keywords

Europe Radar Morphine Syria Cocaine 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Global AffairsNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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