Press Releases

    UNIS/NAR/925
    11 November 2005

    Turkey a Major Donor to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

    UNODC Head Applauds Nation's Commitment to Combating Illicit Drugs, Terrorism, and Crime

    VIENNA, 11 November (UN Information Service) -- Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) met yesterday with Turkey's Minister of Interior Abdulkadir Aksu, to discuss cooperation on drugs, crime and terrorism issues in the region, including Afghanistan.

    Mr. Costa cited UNODC's new initiative to analyze the linkage between crime and instability in the Pan-Balkan region. This study will shed more light on the problems in the region which UNODC is planning to address with its Pan-Balkan Programme. The Programme is designed to counter drug trafficking and abuse, and to strengthen the rule of law, and anti-crime and anti-corruption cooperation. Turkey would contribute to this initiative.

    "Turkey is a strong ally in the fight against illicit drugs," said Mr. Costa. "The creation of the Turkish International Academy Against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC), its enormous value as a platform for anti-trafficking efforts in South Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and Turkey's involvement in the Paris Pact all speak to a genuine, ongoing commitment."

    Turkey is a transit country for Afghan opiates travelling east to west, and for synthetic drugs (Amphetamine-type Stimulants or ATS) moving in the opposite direction. The Turkish National Police, the Gendarmerie (rural police), Customs and the Coast Guard routinely seize large amounts of drugs, and over the past 12 months, as in previous years, heroin seizures (8.9 tons) in Turkey were among the largest in the region.

    Turkey has been a target of terrorism since the 1970s, which resulted in the elaboration of an effective policy based on an integrated approach to counter terrorism and organized crime, and raised it at every possible international platform. Such an approach is in full cohesion with UNODC's global advocacy for focusing on linkages of drugs, crime and terrorism to maximize overall impact.

    "Turkey continues to work aggressively  -- now in the wider context of European Union partnership --  to bring its legislation, judicial system, and policies into alignment with the principles articulated in both the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime" said Mr. Aksu.

    He continued, "We know the world is watching, and we are proud of what Turkey has been able to demonstrate. Together, UNODC and Turkey will contribute to transforming, not just one country, but an entire sub-region in need of leadership, resources, and hands-on assistance."

    Mr. Costa saluted Turkey's demonstrated commitment in the fight against drugs, crime and terrorism and expressed hopes for further collaboration.

    ***

    For more information on the involvement of Turkey in UNODC initiatives, please contact:

    Kathleen Millar
    Deputy Spokesperson, UNODC
    Tel.: + (43 1) 26060 5629, email Email: kathleen.millar@unodc.org