‘Balkan route’ crucial in opiate drug trafficking: Report

The "Balkan route," including Türkiye, is of vital importance in opiate trafficking as it is the most frequently used route for smuggling heroin and morphine, according to a recent report from the police's anti-narcotic unit.

The Caucasus route, the Northern Black Sea route, the eastern Mediterranean route and the Northern Iraq-Syria route are heavily used in drug smuggling, police said in the "2022 Türkiye Drug Report."

"The Balkan Route, on the other hand, the route that starts from Afghanistan and reaches Central and Western Europe via Iran, Türkiye and the Balkan countries, respectively, has been the most frequently used route for smuggling other opiate drugs, including heroin and morphine, for decades."

Between 2015 and 2019, more than 70 percent of the heroin in Western and Central Europe entered via the Balkan Route, the report said, adding that 18 percent entered from the "Southern route," 7 percent from the "Northern route," and 3 percent from South East Asia.

In 2019, 50 percent of the global amount of heroin and morphine seized outside Afghanistan was seized by the countries on the Balkan route, it said. "Türkiye also has vital importance on this route due to its record-breaking heroin seizures."

The country, which has been used as a transit route by drug smugglers for years, has become the target of barons, especially after the Syrian civil war, while research reports reveal the increase in the number of young people acquainted with drugs in recent years.

The report reminded that over 21 tons of acetyl chloride used in the production of heroin and four tons of benzyl chloride were seized in a container on a cargo ship coming from China in İzmir's Aliağa port. It added that there has been an increase in acetyl...

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