Turkey’s illegal gambling operators pose as labor unions, political parties

TAGs: turkey

turkey-casinos-labor-unionPlans to build a casino as part of a new tourist complex in Turkey are raising objections from nature lovers.

The Dogan News Agency reported that the Kaş municipality in Antalya province plans to launch a tender on Thursday for a redevelopment of the İnceboğaz Beach area. The tender conditions include covering the 65k-square-meter beach with slate, the construction of a 50-ton water tank and, yes, a casino.

This is curious for any number of reasons, most specifically because Turkey banned casinos in 1998. There are a few small-scale operations on the Turkish-controlled northern half of Cyprus, but no casinos within Turkey itself. At least, no legal ones.

Which brings us to those indefatigable Turkish gambling operators who continue to find new ways to frustrate the authorities. On Tuesday, police in the southern city of Adana raided a building on a tip that unlawful bingo games were going on inside. The raids resulted in 89 individuals fined for illegal gambling while 12 organizers were arrested for hosting gambling.

The building was ostensibly the headquarters of the Labor Union of Recreation, Culture and Accommodation, but police said the gambling organizers were the same people who previously operated under the guise of the Rising of the National Will (MIY) political party. Under Turkey’s constitution, police are limited in their ability to permanently shutter the offices of political parties.

In January, police made their 11th gambling raid on an MIY building, while MIY bigwigs did their best Eddie Haskell impersonation to pretend they weren’t fully aware what was happening under their noses. The MIY was founded from the ashes of the Trust party, whose facilities had been raided 44 times under similar circumstances. The Trust/MIY braintrust has clearly identified labor unions as their next best legal dodge.

Now if these politicians or trade unionists or whatever they may be next week could only find the guts to offer some form of gambling that wasn’t so under-the-B-boring.


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