Turkey makes record cocaine haul at southern port

Turkey has discovered a ton of cocaine aboard a ship arriving in Turkey’s southern port of Mersin from Ecuador.

“This is the largest cocaine seizure ever made in Turkey,” Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Muş said on Twitter.

The authorities received information that there were narcotic substances in a container loaded with bananas. The cocaine was discovered in 1,000 separate packages aboard the ship in an operation conducted by the Customs Enforcement Directorate and local police, the Mersin governor’s office announced on Wednesday.

In early May, the authorities in Panama seized a container containing 616 packs of cocaine on their way to Mersin from Ecuador. The drug was also hidden in cases of bananas, Panama said.

The existence of possible cocaine trafficking routes between South America and Turkey has become national news over the past month. Exiled Turkish mafia leader Sedat Peker accused the son of a former prime minister of involvement in the trade between Venezuela and Turkey in one of a series of ‘tell-it-all’ YouTube videos.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) heavyweight and former prime minister Binali Yıldırım’s son Erkam Yıldırım visited Venezuela to establish a new cocaine route in January and February this year, Peker said. Yıldırım denied the allegations saying his son travelled to the country due to his involvement in supplying COVID-19 medical aid.