Milo Books

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The Turkish Mafia

The Turkish Mafia dominate the world heroin trade. For more than thirty years, they have processed the raw opiates of the Middle East in clandestine labs and trafficked to the lucrative markets of Western Europe and the United States. Customs officers estimate they supply 80% of the ‘smack’ that reaches Britain. Yet they have remained a mysterious and deadly group, little understood.

In this landmark book, the authors trace the intriguing history of the babas, or godfathers, from their beginnings as so-called “urban knights” and Robin Hood-style rebels, now mythologised as men of honour but in truth violent criminals who preyed on the weak. They reveal for the first time the historic conclave in September 1980 in Sofia, Bulgaria, when the babas carved up Europe between them and changed the face of the international drug trade.

They examine the role of individual drug barons, of the right-wing death squads of the so-called Grey Wolves, and the involvement of the Kurdish PKK. Above all, they explore the murky world of the Turkish “Deep State” – the links between major politicians, the military, and the drug lords who account for at least one-quarter of Turkey’s entire GDP. In 1996, the Susurluk Incident, a fatal car crash involving a prominent M.P., a police chief, a notorious drug dealer and a beauty queen, exposed this chilling conspiracy for the first time.

Today in a world of knife-edge geopolitics, Turkey stands in a unique strategic position between the West, the former Soviet Union and the Muslim states of the Middle East. At the same time, the babas have moved into the ecstasy trade and people smuggling, with Turkey now a major transit point for illegal immigrants. The Turkish Mafia is the great untold story of global organised crime and the ruthless men who run it.

About the authors:

Frank Bovenkerk is a world authority on organised crime. A professor at the University of Utrecht, he has written extensively on the subject and his Dutch bestseller La Bella Bettien was made into a movie.

Dr Yucel Yesilgoz is an expert on the Turkish mafia and a fellow criminologist at Utrecht’s Willem Pompe Institute.


‘This has the lowdown on The Turkish Mafia and its brutal bosses and if you’re all things Mafia it’s worth a wade through.’ MAXIM

‘A new investigation revealing Britain’s heroin pipeline.’ ZOO