raids hit four pirate gangs in Turkey
Turkish police have conducted major anti-piracy operations
against four organised criminal syndicates that effectively
collapsed due to the numbers of arrests made and illegal product
The first operation on 7th May targeted 83 addresses in 17
cities throughout Turkey, resulting in the arrest of 29 people
and the seizure of more than seven million pirate and
counterfeit items. Police confirmed that much of this product
was sold or distributed through internet sites requiring the use
of codes and keywords.
The second operation on 1st June saw 84 different sales points
in Istanbul raided simultaneously. More than two million pirate
or counterfeit items were seized and 46 people were suspected of
infringing copyright law. 11 people, thought to be the gangs'
leaders, were arrested by police.
The total estimated value placed on the seizures by Turkish
police is more than €75 million.
As a result of these operations, the main pirate network was
disrupted and its most important members were arrested. In
addition, police believe the biggest pirate market, the
Tahtakale, is finished.
According to Muammer Güler, the governor of Istanbul, the
police's objective was to cause the collapse of the pirate
syndicates, not to target individual street sellers. Officers
raided production centres seizing moulds and other equipment.
The governor also noted that since copyright law was changed in
2004, 6,361 people had been arrested and 37 million items of
pirate product have been seized. The estimated value of this
pirate material cumulatively seized is more than €350 million.
Ertugrul Günay, the minister of Culture and Tourism, has
emphasised that piracy is theft and stated this should be
understood by the public. He said "It's a fight against idea
theft, intellectual property theft and it has to be truly
understood by the public. All collecting societies and creative
people have to stand up against these thieves and government
bodies have to support this fight by raising public awareness.
Our children should know this kind of theft is a serious crime
and that the public have to pull together to support
intellectual property. If there isn't any creativity there is no
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