By Andrew Wilks
ISTANBUL (Al-Monitor) — The arrest of one of Europe’s most wanted criminals in Istanbul has fueled opposition claims that Turkey is being flooded with “black money” from abroad amid a growing need for foreign cash.
Zeljko Bojanic, an alleged senior figure in the Montenegrin mafia involved in cocaine smuggling, was seized in Istanbul’s upmarket Sariyer neighborhood on Friday, November 4, the city’s Anti-Organized Crime Branch said in a statement Monday, November 7.
Excavations were carried out at Bojanic’s luxury villa in search of the body of a rival Serbian drug smuggler who disappeared two years ago. Police said nothing was found.
The arrest of Bojanic, who was on Europol’s most wanted list and is said to have arrived in Turkey with a fake North Macedonian passport, came days after opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu accused the government of turning a blind eye to an influx of illicit funds.
“I said black money brings its owner. All the mafia scum in the world came to our cities with their money,” Kilicdaroglu, who heads the Republican People’s Party (CHP), tweeted Sunday. “Now a body search is carried out in the gardens. What you see is just a grain of sand in the sea.”