European gangsters become Turkish citizen to evade arrest: Report

According to police sources speaking to VICE World News, Europe's most sought-after criminals are managing to avoid arrest by obtaining Turkish citizenship. Individuals involved in large-scale drug trafficking are reportedly utilizing Turkey's practice of providing citizenship to investors, while also leveraging the country's decision to decline extradition requests for its recently naturalized citizens.

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European authorities and law enforcement agencies are concerned that drug traffickers are using Turkish citizenship laws to evade prosecution in other countries, the US-based VICE World News reported in its special report titled “Gangsters Have a New Way of Avoiding Capture: Becoming Turkish.”

Law enforcement officials are worried about the exploitation of Turkey's investor citizenship scheme by criminals associated with extensive drug trafficking, according to Mitchell Prothero's report. These criminals are allegedly capitalizing on Turkey's stance of denying extradition requests for its recently naturalized citizens.

The report indicated that Interpol and Sweden issued a warrant for the arrest of Iraqi Kurdish drug trafficker Rawa Majid, known as the “Kurdish Fox”, who has been residing in Turkey since 2020 by obtaining citizenship under the “Golden Passport” program, and Turkey refused to arrest and extradite Majid.

A Dutch official said that Jos Leijdekkers, a drug trafficker on the country's most wanted criminals list with a 200,000 euro bounty, was one of the criminals using a Turkish passport, adding, "We know Bolle Jos bought Turkish citizenship and thus according to the Turkish constitution cannot be sent abroad for trial."

The Turkish government launched the "Golden Passport" program in 2018 that grants citizenship in return for an investment of $400,000 in order to attract investors and boom construction sector despite the opposition’s criticisms.