Prof. Dr. Ata ATUN
A Story Told by a Policeman
During a hot schmoose couple days before, one of the guys split a matter on his round, which attracted my attention at the beginning but later on disturbed me deeply.
It was something we knew but pretend as if we know nothing about it and on top do not want to hear anything about it. When are told or hear about it, usually we respond saying “Oh Jesus, really!. What a pity.”
When it hits a friend or a known person and their despair becomes quite obvious than we understand how important this communal problem is.
He actually told us what he had heard about the drugs, starting age, sales, distribution, drug trafficking , the methods they are using and the harm given to the youngsters and their family. I listened quietly and meticulously from the beginning to the end trying not to miss anything. What I heard was a real nightmare.
He ended his story saying “Big amounts of drugs smuggled from the Greek Cyprus to Turkish Cyprus after the borders were open on April 23, 2003. Accordingly in the North Cyprus the sales, distribution and use of drugs stepped up dramatically and infested the community.”
In the beginning I didn’t take it seriously, interpreted it as a classic accusation to the Greek Cypriots. His words weren’t backed up by any solid documents, numbers, graphics, official reports or anything similar from government offices.
After some time, I had a long chat with a prominent Turkish Cypriot Police officer at a break during a conference in one of our local universities. Twisting the subject ingeniously to drugs I conveyed him what I heard. To my surprise and admiration the replied me with figures, numbers and all kinds of statistical information, confirming what I heard.
Although he was a prominent police officer, as being an academician and a researcher for more than 40 years I felt I should reconfirm his words also. Immediately I jumped into the world of Greek Newspapers spanning from very left to extreme right, and noted down even the tiniest news covering anything related to drugs. Then I checked the Greek Cypriot journals, bulletins and official releases. Wrote down anything in the internet and in the USA government’s reports concerning the drug traffic, sales, distribution and smuggling in both sides of Cyprus.
On the final stage I collated all the information I could reach and collected.
My friend whom I thought was an inapposite, was quite right.
The Greek Cypriot side is one of the countries which the ratio of the crimes related or based on drugs compared to the population is relatively quite high, around 1 percent.
According to the official records, during the period between January 1 to the end of year 2013, the number of people arrested and imprisoned related to drug offenses hit as much as 287.
During the first third of year 2014, the deaths caused by overdosed drug intakes reached to 140.
These two figures speaks themselves, how the situation is dramatic, serious and damaging at the Greek side.
There are two more notorious crimes in parallel to drugs, the human trafficking and sex trade. They are twins and strongly tied to each other, in which Greek Cyprus is one of the leading countries within the EU. I shall write a column on them some time in the near future.
Ata AT UN