ANKARA - TDN Parliament Bureau
A report recently forwarded to Parliament by the Justice Ministry has revealed that the number of confiscated drugs and drug suspects is on the rise.
According to 2008 figures, there are 22,000 cases and 30,000 drug suspects, a development that explains why the Justice Ministry is pressing ahead with efforts for the formation of a special court to deal with the crime.
The report disclosed that the absence of a specialized court and a lack of uniform legislation, with 10 separate laws concerning drug trafficking, are creating serious problems in the fight against drug crimes and in dealing with suspects once they are caught. The Justice Ministry is calling for legal regulations to ban the sale of glue to children below the age of 18.
The report said 18,787 out of 22,328 cases this year have been concluded, while 3,541 cases are still ongoing. In the concluded cases, 18,103 people were convicted of drug trafficking and 4,282 people were acquitted. The cases of 5,209 suspects remain ongoing, while those of 8,678 have been dropped. The cases were tackled under Articles 188, 189 and 191 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The report revealed that the number of suspects has been increasing each year. There were 17,212 suspects in 2003, 22,744 in 2004, 26,098 in 2005 and 36,272 in 2006. A total of 1,616 of the suspects in 2006 were women, while 34,656 were men. The number of suspects over 18 was 33,855, which amounts to 93 percent of the total. In addition, 2,052 suspects between the ages 15 and 18 and 361 between 12 and 15 came before the court that year.
Two officials from the Justice Ministry, Galip Tuncay Tutar and Muzaffer Bayram, provided the parliamentary commission investigating drug trafficking with information on drug trafficking crimes and highlighted problems in relevant laws and practices. The officials said a specialized court should be established to deal more effectively with the crime of drug trafficking and that glue production should be allowed only upon special permission and the sale of the substance to those below the age 18 should be forbidden.
The parliamentary commission is expected to take the Justice Ministry data into account in its own report and make recommendations both to Parliament and the government in order to create effective measures in fighting the crimes.