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Why are foreign mobsters, drug gangs attracted to Turkey? 

A wave of foreign mobster violence in Turkey has raised alarm that the country has become a safe haven for criminal kingpins from the region and beyond.
Turkish anti riot police officers patrol around the Sultan Ahmet Mosque during snowfall, Istanbul, Turkey, Jan. 8, 2017.
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Bloody score-settlings and shootouts between foreign thugs have been on the rise in Turkey, stoking criticism that lax legislation and inadequate action on the ground have made the country a safe haven for crime bosses from the region and beyond.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu maintains the Turkish police have been highly successful against mafia rings, including in thwarting attempts by Balkan and Caucasian gangs to base themselves in Turkey. From 2016 to 2022, the security forces broke up 550 mafia-style criminal groups, among them 16 regional ones, Soylu said this week. Skeptics, however, believe that those groups are mostly “small fish,” given that the presence of big-time foreign criminals in the country often comes to light as a result of gang wars rather than police pursuits.

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