The farmers of Turkey's central western region of Anatolia have begun gathering in their first harvest in three years...
SV Women and young girls walking into poppy field.
SV Girls picking poppy heads.
CU AND GV Harvesting.(3 shots)
SV Poppy pods being piled into heap by reapers.
CU Poppy heads being put into sack.
CU Girl picking and looking at poppy pod.
Initials VS 15.30 VS 15.45
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Background: The farmers of Turkey's central western region of Anatolia have begun gathering in their first harvest in three years... and the crop is opium poppies.
The purple and white flowers produce a raw gum which looks innocent enough....but which can easily be processed to make a morphine base and then converted into heroin.
In 1971, the United States brought great pressure to bear on Turkish authorities to cease cultivation of the opium poppy. Turkey, they claimed, was the source of 80 per cent of the illicit heroin finding its way to U.S. addicts.
Turkey acquiesced to the U.S. demands, and, following the last harvest in 1972, paid farmers to produce other crops, such as sunflowers. But the farmers were unhappy. They said that the poppies brought long life, settled digestion and prolonged sex life.... but sunflower oil, on the other hand, brought only indigestion, near impotence and prospects for early death.
In 1974 -- in a move to win the political support of the farmers -- Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit lifted the ban....but imposed stiff restrictions on cultivation and sale. Farmers now have to sell the poppy pods intact to government agents, instead of eliciting them to let the gum ooze out to solidify, ready for sale at around 100 U.S. dollars (45 pounds sterling per kilogramme (2.2 pounds) to illicit buyers.
U.S. drug enforcement authorities fear that the old opium routes from Turkey to the USA and Europe via Marseilles, in southern France, and Corsica will now re-open ...to the great profit of the huge international drug-smuggling networks.