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Turkish Bananas: The Cocaine Road to Russia and the Persian Gulf

Ahmet Yilmaz* shouldn’t be in a dangerous profession.

He’s not a cop or a criminal.

  • Alessandro Ford
  • InSight Crime

Ahmet is a banana importer in Turkey.

“This is my third decade in the industry,” he proudly told InSight Crime. “[My company] made the first transit sales from Turkey to countries [like] Iraq and Iran. Until 2010, we were the regional representative of companies such as Chiquita and Del Monte.”

Back then, fruit trading had little to do with organized crime.

Local gangsters mostly used cargo ships and fishing boats to run Afghan heroin to Europe, almost never interacting with legal agricultural commodities.

But that all changed as cocaine hit…

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