Police in Israel and Turkey have launched extensive talks that would allow the extradition of about 40 Israeli organized crime leaders who have taken refuge in Ankara, police sources in Tel Aviv revealed on Friday.
The sources said that progress was made in the negotiations as Ankara agreed to hand over one of the suspects.
Talks are underway to pressure Turkey into handing over the rest of them, sources affirmed.
They pointed out that the fugitives are heads of major criminal organizations, including Jewish and Arab organizations, and are running their businesses from there through agents in Israel.
Their criminal activities focus on collecting royalties, selling forged invoices, providing loans on the black market with high interest rates, trafficking in drugs and arms, and contracting for assassinations.
Some also run scams in the Arab world through the so-called “Forex trading.”
They call wealthy Arabs and convince them to invest their money in the stock market to later steal millions of dollars from them by fraud and deception.
Other crimes also take place on Turkish soil, some with the participation of local criminal organizations.
Walla news website in Tel Aviv reported that heads of the most powerful criminal organization in Israel, Abu Latif Family Organization, have recently fled to Turkey.
They probably fled Israel after knowing that the police and the tax authority were pursuing their criminal acts.
Turkey is okay with these people committing crimes on its soil as long as it is not affected, Walla quoted a police officer as saying.
The Israeli government, which was accused of negligence in fighting organized crime and violence in the Arab community, decided under Naftali Bennett to change this approach and address the phenomena.
The police officer said the government is aware of the risks, especially that the level of crimes is very high and represent a threat to the national security and to Israel’s existence.