Minister GÜL: Drug addiction is a problem as dangerous as terrorism 06.04.2018
Minister of Justice Gül spoke at the meeting of Parliamentary Research Commission founded in order to identify the reasons of and measures against drug addiction by examining substance addiction and new types of addiction. Minister Gül underlined that during the fight against narcotic crimes, destroying the criminal environment and draining the swamp is more important than how deterrent punishments are.

TREATING THE ADDICTION IS IMPORTANT

Emphasizing that the fight against drugs is an integrated process, "Fighting drugs involves both fighting the criminal organizations actively involved in this area and also fighting addiction." he stated. Indicating that the treatment of addiction and rehabilitation is as important as the deterrent punishments and indicated "In order to prevent a criminal action, the grounds for the problem should be eliminated. By determining clearly the reasons of tendency to use drugs, the swamp must be destroyed."

THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL MEASURE SHOULD BE TO PREVENT ACCESS

Minister Gül stated that the most fundamental preventing measure in the criminal policy and establishment of public order is to prevent the access to tools and substances related to the crime and said that preventing access to such substances is as important as preventing the sale of them. Minister of Justice warned that "Blocking the elements leading to crime, destroying the criminal environment and draining the swamp is more important than the deterrence of punishments.   What matters is to prevent the crime before happening. That is to say, the environment which may lead to the commission of drug crimes should be dried out and left dehydrated and airless."

Emphasizing that drug trafficking plays an important role in financing international terrorist organizations, he continued:

"Many countries overlook these means of financing terrorism. Terrorist organizations and drug trafficking criminal organizations have been in corporation with and identical to each other for many years. As it is required in the fight against international terrorism, a strong international corporation is obligatory to fight drug crimes. Smuggling and drug trafficking are the most important financial resources of the PKK in our country. The fight against drug crimes in a sense may be considered as the fight against the terrorist organizations. We see the positive results of this fight and also the good results of the fight against the PKK and other terrorist organizations in this field."

CRIMINAL SANCTIONS HAVE BEEN INCREASED REMARKABLY

Abdulhamit Gül said that the criminal sanctions related to drug offenses have been increased remarkably and continued to inform about it.

Gül stated that the lower limit of fines for the production and trading of narcotic drugs or stimulants is increased and that judicial fine is introduced in addition to imprisonment for facilitating the use of narcotic drugs and stimulants. Gül added that "By the amendment made to the Criminal Procedure Code, if it is compulsory to listen to the secret witnesses, a procedure has been introduced in order to keep their identity hidden and not to be decrypted by listening to them in a special environment."

Minister of Justice Gül also informed about the numbers of convicted and detainees in prisons for drug-related offenses between 2009-2017. Gül stated that while the number of people in prisons for drug-related  offenses was 23.082 in 2009, this number was 48.311 in 2017 and it is 55. 266 as of today. Gül underlined that only 520 of them were juveniles pushed to crime.

Minister of Justice Gül expressed that the increase in prisons in the last three years did not arise from the increase in crime rates, but increased due to both the increase in punishments and the changes in the execution regime for these crimes. Abdulhamit Gül pointed out that, since 2015, a significant reduction in the ratio of the offences of buying, accepting or possessing drugs or stimulants is clearly seen concerning the cases filed within the year.

PROBATION DEPARTMENT FIGHTS AGAINST ADDICTION

Gül said that the efforts to improve the fight against addiction which is performed by 139 probation offices under the Directorate General of Prisons and Detention Houses Probation Department are continuing. Gül also added that the health and psycho-social services in prisons continue to addiction treatment services without interruption.

REHABILITIATION OF PRISIONERS AS FREE FROM OFFENCE

Minister of Justice Gül stressed that it is their priority to rehabilitate those who are in prisons for drug offenses as free from this offence after leaving the prison. Gül continued as follows:

"In order for punishments to be deterrent, the belief that 'the offence will certainly be punished' must be established in society. Within the context, it is obvious that the black propaganda stating that the offences, especially drug-related offences go unpunished is damaging our society. Nevertheless, on the contrary, punishments for drug-related offenses, just like in sexual assault offences, have been increased and aggravated remarkably from past to present."

Judiciary of Turkey