Turkey seizes 346kg of heroin in Istanbul: Official

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkish drugs police seized 346kg of heroin in Istanbul as part of a joint operation with the National Intelligence Organisation, an official source said on Friday.

Authorities found the drugs in a vehicle in the suburb of Silivri after an operation carried out in both Istanbul and Hakkari, an eastern town near the Iranian border.

The authorities suspect the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) of organising the smuggling of the seized drugs from Iran to Europe, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The authorities arrested 11 people including one Iranian. Two were released after questioning.

Straddling Asia and Europe, Turkey lies on several major smuggling routes and is the main entry point for heroin on the European market.

"The vast majority of heroin in the EU continues to transit through Turkey and is trafficked by Turkish (organised crime groups) from its origin to destination markets," a 2013 Europol report said.

The UN's latest World Drug Report said that seven tonnes of heroin were seized in Turkey in 2011, a significant decline from previous years that the study said owes in part to increased law enforcement activity.

Turkey, which has recently attempted to revive peace talks with the separatist Kurds, has chronically accused the PKK of deriving its funds from narcotics and people smuggling.

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