The Turkish government has announced that cultivation of the opium poppy is to be totally prohibited throughout the country after 1972.
SV WOMEN WORK IN OPIUM POPPY FIELD
SV POLICE ARRIVE WITH OFFICIALS TO MEASURE POPPY FIELD (2 SHOTS)
SV WOMEN WORKING IN FIELDS
GV OFFICIALS MEASURE POPPY FIELD (2 SHOTS)
SV WOMAN MILKING POPPY PODS (2 SHOTS)
SV TILT UP OPIUM POPPIES
SV VILLAGERS RETURN FROM FIELD WITH OXEN WAGON.
CU SIGN "AFYON" AND POLICE ARRIVING TO SET UP ROAD BLOCK
SV WORKMEN BEING MADE TO LEAVE BUS AND SEARCHED BY POLICE (4 SHOTS)
GV POLICE WAVING DOWN OTHER TRAFFIC (2 SHOTS)
CU POLICEMAN SLITTING & OPENING STORE OF OPIUM
SV OTHER TRAFFIC STOPS AT ROAD BLOCK
SV ZOOM OUT VILLAGERS QUEUE TO DELIVER OPIUM TO GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
SV VILLAGERS TAKE OPIUM FROM BASKET, CONTAINER OPENED
SV HIPPIES WALK THROUGH VILLAGE STREETS
SV HIPPY GIRL INTO RESTAURANT AND SMOKING IN DOORWAY
CU HIPPY SMOKING AND WAVING TO CAMERA.
Initials BB/1738 RR/AS/BB/1840
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Turkish government has announced that cultivation of the opium poppy is to be totally prohibited throughout the country after 1972.
Until now, Turkey has bene one of the few countries where cultivation of opium--under strict government control--has been legal. But the drug problem in the United States has produced considerable pressure from the Americans on successive Turkish governments to put an end to opium growing. President Nixon himself has said that opium poppies grown in Turkey provided the base for sixty per cent of the heroin that is smuggled into the United States. And he hailed the Turkish government's prohibition announcement as a major breakthrough in the war against drug abuse.
The difficulties experienced by the Turkish authorities in controlling opium crops in excess of the legal limit opened the way to a serious black market involving international drug rings. It has always been believed by narcotics agencies that most of the smuggled opium, and, to a lesser extent, morphine base from Turkey is refined in illicit laboratories in France before shipments are smuggled into the USA.
The recent prohibition announcement, however, is the culmination of increasingly successful operations run by the Turkish authorities against drug production and smuggling over the last three years.
This film from Visnews cameraman Necdet Isler, shot in the opium cultivation fields of the Afyon-Kutahya Province, provides some background to the prohibition announcement.
SYNOPSIS: TURKEY'S OPIUM CORP IS TO COME TO AN END. UNTIL NOW, THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALLOWED THE CULTIVATION OF THE OPIUM POPPY ONLY UNDER RIGID CONTROL. BUT AT THE END OF LAST MONTH, IT ANNOUNCED THAT CULTIVATION WOULD BE PROHIBITED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AFTER 1972. THIS YEAR, THE NUMBER OF PROVINCES ALLOWED TO GROW THE PLANT HAS ALREADY BEEN CUT FROM SEVEN TO THREE.
NEXT YEAR, THE CROP WILL BE TOTALLY BANNED. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ARE PLANNING ALTERNATIVE CROPS FOR LAND THAT HAS BEEN UNDER POPPY CULTIVATION. THE GOVERNMENT'S PROHIBITION FOLLOWS INCREASING PRESSURE FROM THE UNITED STATES. HE AMERICANS CLAIMED THAT OPIUM POPPIES GROWN IN TURKEY PROVIDED THE EASE FOR SIXTY PER CENT OF HEROIN THAT IS SMUGGLED INTO THE COUNTRY. NOW PRESIDENT NIXON PERSONALLY HAS HAILED THE PROHIBITION ANNOUNCEMENT AS A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH IN THE WAR AGAINST DRUG ABUSE. HIS GOVERNMENT IS BELIEVED TO HAVE OFFERED TURKEY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS TO COMPENSATION OPIUM FARMERS FOR LOSSES.
THE TURKISH AUTHORITIES THEMSELVES HAVE, OVER RECENT YEARS, BEEN ENGAGED IN INCREASINGLY SUCCESSFUL OPERATIONS AGAINST ILLICIT GROWERS AND SMUGGLERS. BUT CROPS GROWN IN EXCESS OF GOVERNMENT LIMITS ARE DIFFICULT TO UP, AND INTERNATIONAL DRUG RINGS HAVE MOVED IN. NARCOTICS AGENCIES TURKEY IS REFINED IN ILLICIT LABORATORIES IN FRANCE BEFORE SHIPMENT TO THE UNITED STATES. BUT POLICE ACTIVITY IN TURKEY HAS PRODUCED LARGE NUMBERS OF ARRESTS COURT SENTENCE ARE SEVERE--THIRTY MONTHS FOR A FIRST OFFENCE LIFE FOR A BIG TRAFFICKER.
RESISTANCE TO AMERICAN PRESSURE TO PROHIBIT OPIUM HAS TO DATE BEEN BASED ON THE ARGUMENT THAT THOUSANDS OF PEASANT FAMILIES WOULD LOSE THEIR LIVING IF THE CROP WERE BANNED. HOWEVER, DOCTOR NIHAT ERIM'S GOVERNMENT MADE ABOLITION ONE OF THE PLANKS OF THEIR POLITICAL PLATFORM, TOGETHER WITH SUBSTITUTION OF OTHER ECONOMICAL CROPS FOR THOSE FARMERS AFFECTED. RECENTLY IN EFFORTS TO BREAK THE BLACK MARKET THE GOVERNMENT RAISED THE CASH PRICE OF RAW OPIUM TO FIVE POUNDS STERLING PER KILO. AT THE SAME TIME, THEY ARE OFFERING BIG MONEY INCENTIVES TO INFORMERS--UP TO A THIRD OF THE VALUE OF ANY ILLICIT CROP DISCOVERED. BUT EVEN NOW, IT APPEARS THAT PROCUREMENT OF THE DRUG IS NOT DIFFICULT.