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Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 10:33 GMT
Keeping tabs on the Turkish connection
Turkish and Kurdish heroin mafia graphic
The Turkish and Kurdish connection has cropped up during a number of British trials in the last five years.

In September the last member of a gang was jailed following a long-running National Crime Squad initiative called Operation Equation.

NCS officers swooped as 13kg of heroin was unloaded at an industrial estate in Tottenham.

Kahraman Saglam, 31, from Tottenham, was jailed for 16 years, Hussein Sarica, 39, also from Tottenham, got 12 years, Mehmet Gozhubuyuk, 38, from Hackney, got seven years while Elroy Ankle, 25, from Brixton and Ziya Kavak, 37, from Enfield, were sentenced to five years.

German lorry driver Charles Paulus, 39, was jailed for three years.

Pic of smashed window of Green Lanes cafe
Turkish gangs fought a bitter turf war in London at the weekend

During the investigation a convicted heroin dealer, Aliriza Bozdogan, shot and nearly killed one of the NCS officers.

In May he was jailed for 13 years for possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The judge recommended he be deported back to Turkey at the end of his sentence.

Another clan which is understood to hold considerable power in the Turkish community is that led by Huseyin Baybasin.

The "godfather" was behind a shipment of 3,000kg of base morphine - worth millions of pounds - which was lost in 1992 when a ship called the Kismetim 1 sank in the Mediterranean.

In March 1998 police in Britain, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Turkey swooped on Baybasin and many of his men.

'The Heroin Emperor'

Huseyin Baybasin, known as "The Heroin Emperor", was jailed for life in Holland in July 2002.

But he is believed to have retained most of his vast wealth, which he invested in tourist resorts along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.

He is also understood to have a number of assets in the UK.

Baybasin's home was in the Kurdish town of Lice in south-east Turkey, a hotbed of PKK activity.

He was also accused of donating money to the PKK and the television channel Med-TV, which was sympathetic to the PKK.

Med-TV was based in London until its licence was revoked by the Independent Television Commission in November 1998.

'Rebels turned gangsters'

Both the PKK and Dev Sol - rather like paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland - have been accused in the past of turning from "freedom fighters" into gangsters.

Many Turkish- or Kurdish- owned businesses in London are believed to pay "revolutionary taxes" to PKK or Dev Sol - now known as the DHKPC - as a form of extortion.

Mustafa, a British businessman of Turkish Cypriot origin, said common criminals and "streetboys" had recently muscled in on this racket and often used the names PKK and Dev Sol to back up their threats.

In October last year former Turkish international footballer Gungor Tekin was jailed for 21 years for masterminding a drugs smuggling business.

Tekin, 48, was arrested in Kent with 60kg of heroin hidden in a minibus.

Gencay Cakici
Gencay Cakici, whose brother is one of Turkey's most notorious mobsters
His trial heard evidence that Turkish drug smugglers were working with organised crime gangs in Bulgaria, Kosovo and the Czech Republic.

Tekin, who used to play for Istanbul's Fenerbahce team, had organised a supply of heroin from one of Turkey's six main drugs gangs, the court heard.

In 1999 France extradited alleged mafia boss Alaattin Cakici back to Turkey.

He was wanted in connection with extortion, illegal property deals and the murders of several people, including his ex-wife Ugur Kilic.

Turkish PM brought down

But the more serious charges were dropped and Cakici was sentenced to eight years in jail.

The publication of taped conversations between Cakici and a construction magnate - Korkmaz Yigit - ultimately led to the fall of the Turkish Prime Minister Prime Mesut Yilmaz in 1998.

Mr Yigit claimed Mr Yilmaz had helped him secure a loan from a state-owned bank.

Mr Yilmaz denied it and said it was a mafia plot.

Cakici's brother Gencay survived a shooting in 1999.

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