Figures released by the Interior Ministry indicate a boost in the crackdown against organized crime and drugs in Turkey.
Addressing the Parliament during budget talks yesterday, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu outlined the successful fight against drug dealers, saying that criminals peddling drugs to students around schools was reduced to "almost zero" thanks to counter-narcotics operations.
Soylu said that security forces seized more than 17,000 kilograms of heroin and 21.5 million Captagon pills in counter-narcotics operations this year, adding that drug-related deaths dropped to 380 this year from 941 last year.
Turkey, a transit country for drug smuggling which also fights against drug use, especially among young people, stepped up its anti-narcotics efforts in recent years after launching an action plan on the war on drugs four years ago. It increased the number of rehabilitation centers for recovering addicts and focused more on small-time dealers with the police's newly formed "narco teams," which operate around schools and other places where young people hang out.
The minister also cited the fight against organized crime as another success of the Interior Ministry. "We put an end to the activities of 275 organized crime gangs this year, with 309 operations," he said. Organized crime has been a thorn on Turkey's side where in the first half of the 1990s mobsters dominated a shady underworld with political connections.
Night watchmen, a branch of Turkish police reintroduced last year, also helped with a drop in crime rates and the minister said that an average number of 259 daily thefts decreased to 203.
In traffic safety, tighter policing of the roads and road safety measures helped reduce fatal accidents and accidents with injuries to 7.5 percent and fatalities to 5.7 percent.
Following the July 15, 2016 coup attempt blamed on the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), Turkey weeded out thousands of police officers linked to the terrorist group. FETÖ is accused of manipulating criminal cases for its own gains, using forged evidence to imprison its critics and accused of impeding the fight against crime. FETÖ's police infiltrators, including police chiefs, are on trial currently in a string of trials for FETÖ's wrongdoings.