Opium poppy licensing in Turkey: A model to solve Afghanistan’s illegal opium economy? (January 2011)
The report analyses the Turkish opium licensing system as a way to illustrate the “normality” of such an industry. The latter function is important for the current debate on using similar systems in other countries. In Afghanistan, for example, the opium poppy is still solely associated with illegal drug consumption, drug trafficking, crime and insurgency. On the contrary, in Turkey, opium poppies are regarded as both traditional medicine and an essential part of a rich cooking tradition. As such, the poppy licensing industry in Turkey should be regarded less a direct example of how to implement a similar model in Afghanistan, but more as an illustration of an alternative, non-politicised way of looking at the opium poppy plant and its potential benefits for Afghanistan.