This blog is all that remains from the former website which was closed after 8 years of providing a 'wiki' of urban street gangs in London.

An unfinished history of modern urban street gangs in London has been used to replace some of the content of the original site, beginning here

Friday, 23 January 2015

London Street Gangs: A modern history (aiming to complete 2015...2016 bit late)

Been putting together bits and pieces from the old website, well sourced and referenced, in a chronological order - "London Street Gangs: A modern history".

Obviously given the nature of the website, it is largely a catalogue of crime and violence across London which will cover all races and nationalities.

Available Parts: 1980's

Part One: Young Raiders Posse
Part Two: The Farm
Part Three: The Yardies
Part Four: Operation Shampoo

Coming Next:

Part Five: Brixton Bwoy - British born groups, securities industry (late 1980's)
Part Six: Blondie - Stoke Newington police drug squad corruption (late 1980's)
Part Seven: National Front and Eltham Krays - racist gangs (early 1990's - some reference to 1970's)
Part Eight: Tuffy and Tyson (early 1990's)
Part Nine: 28's (early-mid 1990's cases)
Part Ten: Venom - Phillip Lawrence case, Triad influenced crews (mid-1990's)

The intention is that these parts, articles, will cover everything right through until the 2011 riots.

Probably will also look to critique how the Metropolitan Police response to gangs since 2012 has contributed to the proliferation of London gang crime into many surrounding counties, "infecting" previously unaffected towns with gangs - Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hampshire etc..

Also, how "gangs" have adapted in response to police tactics and intelligence gathering by linking up with one another, shedding the old definers and symbolism that was rife in the 2007-2011 period (such as colours, hood videos and social media pages that are now seldom found), and how they have become more organised and focused around financial gain over conflicts.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Prisoner to the Streets, Hackney Empire

Article to come...


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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

North East London’s Turkish / Kurdish Mafia

The families that make up the Turkish and Kurdish criminal organisations of London are believed to have imported 1,000's of kilo's of heroin into the United Kingdom since the late 1970’s. During which time they have made links with British criminals, including the so-called 'Liverpool Mafia', the 'Irish Godfather', Christy Kinahan, Albanian organised criminals, Asian crime families, Chinese Snakehead gangs and the street gangs within the boroughs of Hackney and Haringey. They have been responsible for numerous murders, the majority of which are unsolved, and have harboured some of the world's largest drug traffickers. Extortion and protection rackets, human and contraband smuggling and the availability of heavy firearms is why they might possibly be viewed as London's own answer to the Mafia. 


There are three groups of people from the transcontinental country of Turkey currently present in north east London (Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest): Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Kurdish, each having their own cultural aspects and patterns of settlement within this part of London. The eldest in London are the Turkish Cypriots who began settling in London from the late 1940’s, next were Turkish mainlanders arriving largely during the 1960’s and 1970’s, with a second wave in the 1980’s. The Kurdish population, specifically Kurds from Turkish mainland, came last during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The largest estimate of residency in London is about 220,000[i], although it is important to note that over 90% of residents in all communities in the United Kingdom, regardless of race, nationality and religion are not involved in any criminal activity. The commercial structure built by a majority of law abiding immigrants however has enabled the criminal element to flourish. Many European countries trace the arrival of organised criminals from Turkey to the late 1980’s, well after the establishment of the law abiding Diaspora of Turkish, Turkish-Cypriot and Kurdish. From here on, all references and uses of the terms Turkish criminals, Turkish Mafia or Turkish Organised Crime is to describe a small sector of the three aforementioned groups that are reportedly involved in crime which is arguably organised[ii]

Early Murders 

Like many criminal networks that have existed within the United Kingdom, the authorities did not become involved or publicly acknowledge criminality within the Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Kurdish communities of north east London until murders began to occur in this area. Nearing the end of March 1994 a 33-year-old Kurdish businessman was told by his close friend “Get out of London, go abroad, go anywhere”

“Wherever I go”, he said, “They will find me”

Two days later they did. Mehmet Kaygisiz, from Wood Green, north London, had not travelled far. He had gone to a Turkish cafe in Mildmay Park, Islington, where he was playing backgammon. During his game a man entered and shot him dead with a handgun. Kaygisiz had only recently begun frequenting the club. He had previously been a familiar face in the cafes and social clubs of Green Lanes in north London. The media put forward a series of potential motives following engagement with those at the scene. Some local people believed that Kaygisiz had been pressured from unknown sources who were demanding ‘protection’ payments from his business, whilst others suggested he was a Dev Sol[iii] member who switched to PKK[iv] and was involved in drug trafficking and smuggling immigrants. 

According to true crime author Tony Thompson, Kaygisiz belonged to a syndicate which was involved in the transportation of illegal immigrants to Britain, charging each client £3,500 for a package deal that included transport and travel to Britain and instructions on what to say if caught in order to claim asylum. Furthermore, his connection with people smuggling was of benefit to heroin traffickers, with Kaygisiz helping them find ‘mules’[v]

The following year, the body of Hassan Bilgi, 46, a Turkish Cypriot, was found with gunshot wounds dumped in a field in Kent. Police believed the flamboyant Bilgi was a heroin dealer and had several theories about how the London-based criminal ended up in a field near High Halstow, his body bullet-riddled, including the possibility that he was driven there at gunpoint from his home on the Ferrier Estate in Kidbrooke. Detectives interviewed more than 2,000 people regarding the murder without ever penetrating the wall of silence surrounding his death to date. 

Another Turkish victim discovered outside of London the same year as Bilgi was Mustafa Zarif Ali. The 32-year-olds body was exhumed following its discovery in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Essenden village in Hertfordshire in April 1996. Zarif came to London a year prior to the discovery, where he became well known in north London’s Turkish community. Police believed that he was introduced to his three killers after becoming a player in the heroin trade with a fourth man, Dervish Sehitoglu. Together Zarif, and his accused killers Mustafa Kuni, Arkin Izzigil and Tan Onbasi, resided on the Sandlings Estate in Wood Green, north London. 

In the run up to Zarif’s body being unearthed Dervish Sehitoglu was found in control of 40 kilos of heroin and arrested by police officers. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, upon appeal, Sehitoglu’s sentence was reduced to eight years. In what is a rare occurrence amongst Turkish organised criminals, he also began talking to detectives. He told them that Mustafa Kuni was ‘very big’ in the heroin trade, conducting much of his business from a coffee shop in Philip Lane, Tottenham, north London. He went on to tell detectives that he had regularly handled as much as 250 kilos of heroin at a time with Kuni and that he was present when Zarif was murdered and his body dumped. 

Dervish Sehitoglu became the chief prosecution witness in the murder trial, and maintained that whilst he was present at the murder, he was completely unaware that the defendants had homicide on their minds. Without his evidence Kuni, Izzigil and Onbasi might never have been brought to trial. He placed the murder date at December 15, 1995, four months before the body was exhumed. Zarif was picked up in a car that evening on the pretence that they were going out for a meal. Instead, with Izzigil at the wheel and Zarif in the front passenger seat, they drove north when Kuni was seen to put some sort of wire around Zarif’s neck. Onbasi produced a gun as Izzigil stopped the car and Zarif was forced out and strangled until he was motionless. The shallow grave was already prepared. Putting forward a motive, Sehitoglu told the court that Zarif had made threats against Kuni and planned to rob him. Sehitoglu denied making the allegations to get his sentence further reduced. 

Mustafa Kuni moved to Northern Cyprus, beyond jurisdiction – the United Kingdom have no extradition treaty with Northern Cyprus. Meanwhile, Arkin Izzigil and Tan Onbasi were cleared of the murder charge and accusations constructed from Dervish Sehitoglu’s evidence. Juries twice failed to reach a verdict following two expensive trials at the Old Bailey which required jurors to be given round the clock police protection. On the third occasion the Crown offered no evidence. It is unlikely that anyone will ever face justice for the murder of Mustafa Ali. 

On September 16, 1996, Ahmet Cimen arrived in north London. Just 48-hours later his bullet-riddled body was found in a car park off Firs Lane in Winchmore Hill, north London. A group of three or four men were seen dragging the body from a vehicle whilst a 9mm firearm, believed to be the murder weapon, was recovered by police divers from the River Lea near Wharf Road, Ponders End, north London. Cimen was shot a number of times in the head in a metallic beige 7-series BMW which the killers attempted to burn. The Turkish businessman accused of plotting the contract killing later walked free from the Old Bailey after the case was abandoned. 

It is understood that Cimen had travelled to London from his base in Amsterdam to collect a large drugs debt. On the night of his murder he had arranged a meeting with several people at a West End restaurant. He never arrived. Police believe that a contract killer was brought in from Turkey to carry out the murder. The decision to abandon the case followed a hearing where the judge in the case refused to allow public interest immunity certificates for certain witnesses, therefore the Crown offered no evidence at a pre-trial hearing. 

The next killing took place shortly after the Zarif trial when Bulent Giritli, 24, was lured to a cafe in Lordship Lane where he was shot twice in the head at close range in a yard at the back of the premises. The reported drug dealer had failed to meet a deadline payment of £54,000 for three kilos of heroin in a deal which was in partnership with criminals based in Glasgow. Giritli, who was based in London, had been working with Mustafa Sungur and two other Turkish men through his partner in Scotland. There was already ‘bad blood’ after a previous deal had gone wrong when Giritli had received drugs but had not paid. 

Bulent Giritli was summoned to Glasgow and undertook to pay the £54,000. Scottish gangster Paul Ferris, months before the murder, was paid by another Glasgow villain named ‘Eric the Greek’ to come to London to recover £40,000 from Giritli for the previously outstanding debt. But Ferris was not able to recover the money for Eric the Greek because he could not track Giritli down. Mustafa Sungur and his co-defendants gave a final deadline to Giritli when he was summoned to the Tottenham cafe, killing him when he was unable to pay. Sungur disposed of the Browning firearm, another pistol and a silencer in the River Lea in Hackney Marshes, east London. Paul Ferris, who was serving time for arms dealing by the time of trial, was forced to attend the proceedings after being called by the defendant’s barrister. Mustafa Sungur was found guilty of murder whilst his two co-defendants were both acquitted. 

The motives behind each of these killings highlights three areas of criminal activity that are particularly associated with Turkish organised crime – protection payments or racketeering, often known as revolutionary taxes under the guise of political militaries such as the Grey Wolves, Dev Sol and PKK, people smuggling and providing transport for illegal immigrants wishing to enter the United Kingdom and finally the international drugs trade, specialising in heroin trafficking. 


Revolutionary Taxes 

Historically it has been believed that Turkish business owners in London have been subject to supposed ‘Revolutionary Taxes’, which in reality are protection or extortion rackets. In the early 1990’s the Turkish Embassy in London began to forward complaints of extortion, made by the expatriate community in Britain, to Scotland Yard. Amongst the complaints were claims of intimidation among the Kurdish community by fundraisers from the PKK, or Kurdish Workers Party. The PKK’s British arm, the ERNK, or National Liberation Front of Kurdistan, was alleged to have generated £350,000 in 1992 from campaigns targeted within the Kurdish community in Islington and Hackney[vi]

Police believed that the fund-raising had been supported by threats of violence against shopkeepers and other small businessmen. Other identified groups involved in this activity were the Turkish-Kurdish Cultural Solidarity Association, which was alleged to have ties with Dev Sol. According to Tony Thompson (Gangland Britain, 1995, p.354-355): 

‘Annual fundraising drives by both groups had become an accepted part of life for many of those in the Kurdish community, with the vast majority happy to pay the going rate of £100 per worker. Care was always taken by the collectors to ensure that demands were not excessive so that sympathy for the group[s] was maintained. 

‘But the targeting of Turks and Turkish Cypriots that began in 1992 was something new, as was the fact that anyone who refused to pay found that either their business premises were mysteriously burnt to the ground or that they became the target of an even more personal reprisal. 

‘Selhattin Yatman, a prominent Turkish restaurateur, first came across Dev Sol in October 199. When he was approached to buy copies of their magazine, Struggle, to sell to his customers. Having heard on the grapevine that those who agree are subsequently approached by the same men for a weekly protection levy of up to £2,000, Yatman refused outright to have anything to do with the men. 

‘They were extremely intimidating, just like gangsters,’ he explains. ‘I asked them what they would do if I didn’t give them money and they hinted I would be getting a return visit.’ 

‘Yatman ignored the threat and threw the three men out. As they left, one turned and told him they would have to ‘consult with their superiors’ before deciding what course of action to take. 

‘The following day, as he returned to his Hackney home after work, he was jumped by ten masked men. 

By 1993 the Metropolitan Police had set up a special unit to investigate complaints about protection rackets, blackmail and extortion of Turkish businesses. A later taskforce was set up with Scotland Yard, Customs, the Inland Revenue and the National Criminal Intelligence Service to investigate extortion and racketeering attributed to the PKK in London. Successful prosecutions for those accused of extorting Turkish business owners is rare. In one of the few cases to have reached court in the 1990’s three Turkish men were accused of multiple counts of blackmail against a shop owner on Stoke Newington Road, north London. The three were accused of trying to extort money, a threatened sum of £100 per week, from a shoe shop owner whilst selling magazines which supported the PKK / Dev Sol. 

The businessman claimed he, and other prominent business owners of north London’s Turkish community, were subject to blackmail demands after refusing to buy the magazines. He told the court that he was told ‘You have to buy the magazines whether you like it or not. No-one can refuse to buy them. If necessary we will collect money as well. £100 a week.’ Each of the co-accused was acquitted on all counts of blackmail in 1994. 

In 2002 a survey of shopkeepers and business owners, compiled by the Halkevi Community Centre, found that 65% were paying protection money to racketeers. Yasar Ismailoglu, co-ordinator of the Halkevi Community Centre, Stoke Newington, commenting said at the time ‘Too many shopkeepers are being threatened for protection money and too many people are afraid of the gangs.’ The survey carried out questioned 200 Turkish and Kurdish businesses in London with some reportedly being extorted as much as £10,000 per year[vii]. It was further reported that one man in Enfield had his fingers slashed with a knife, warning that they’d be cut off, but told he and his business could be protected for £90,000. 

Some reports have pointed to youth wings of the organised gangs as being responsible for carrying out protection rackets, whilst the common theme running through all reports is that the activity is chronically underreported. Racketeering and protection rackets continue to be a central activity of the organised networks, leading to some notable incidents which will be discussed further on (see Battle of Green Lanes and Bombers versus Tottenham Boys feud). Other functions of the gangs which are exploitative of businesses in the Turkish community are their use for handling stolen property. It is not uncommon for business owners to reluctantly purchase smuggled products that have evaded duty-tax. Should the businesses be caught selling these items by trading standards they then run the risk of fines. Many of the affected businesses fall in and amongst busy thoroughfares such as Green Lanes (spanning Stoke Newington, Harringay and Palmers Green) and the A10/A1010 which run through north London as Kingsland Road, Stoke Newington High Road, Tottenham High Road, Fore Street and Hertford Road. 

Concealing themselves amongst the law-abiding businesses there are numerous cafes and social clubs that are utilised by Turkish criminals for business meetings. Often these cafes and social clubs are little more than a few tables for which to sit at and partake in illegal gambling, stocking alcohol and cigarettes for sale. Although many are reportedly raided for drugs, the likelihood is that nothing of the sort is found here because it is the meeting place of senior figures within the underworld to discuss business. Nearby however there are no doubt reluctant businesses that are being used in the most profitable form of criminal activity undertaken by Turkish organised crime groups, these premises are known as a kula- a storage place for drugs, most commonly heroin. 

Heroin Godfathers 

Long before the murders criminals from the transcontinental country of Turkey had been quietly importing brown heroin from the Golden Crescent of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. It is transported to the United Kingdom via the Balkan route, which consists of long rural roads with none other than the odd service station and cafe, almost impossible to patrol. Heavy goods vehicles have always been the preferred method, with traffickers using even unsuspecting drivers from a host of countries to complete the journeys. In the United Kingdom lorry drivers with heroin concealed in their vehicles have come from places such as Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and of course the United Kingdom. Where drivers are aware of their load, the risk is sometimes shared across international borders. Such is the difficulty in monitoring the trafficking Interpol have for many years had an established ‘Balkan Route Team’. 

In the United Kingdom the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) at one point estimated that 80% of heroin entering Britain, based on seizures, was controlled by Turkish gangs who had usurped a business that was until the 1980’s very much controlled by Chinese, Pakistani and Indian criminals in the United Kingdom. The NCIS thought that 20 criminal families within the Turkish communities controlled the heroin trade from bases in London, Merseyside, Manchester, Glasgow and Hull[viii]. In 1996 customs officers seized more than a ton (1,000kg) of heroin, with over a quarter of that seized in London[ix]

The foremost Turkish drug trafficker in England is reputedly David Telliagaoglu, better known by his anglicised name David Telli. Before moving to the United Kingdom David Telli had been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years imprisonment in Germany for importing 2.3tons of cannabis there in 1977. After serving his time he came to reside in West Sussex, in the wealthy Angmering Lane area of East Preston, on the south coast of England where he continued to deal drugs on an international scale spanning Turkey, the United Kingdom and as far as the United States through an Armenian contact. He was behind a number of substantial importations of heroin along with right hand man Feridun Dogancioglu of Golders Green, north London. 

Telli’s vast profits from the heroin trade were invested via Scottish and Northern Cypriot banks, leading to the Bank of England beginning an offensive against the numerous Turkish and Cypriot banks in England that they believed were being used for laundering drugs money. This led to the closure of the Cyprus Credit Bank in October 1996, owned by the Boyaci family, which is related to Rauf Denktas, then president of the (unrecognised) Turkish Cypriot Republic. He also put cash into massive property deals in exclusive areas of London, including Hampstead, Bishopgate and the City. His downfall began when the Armenian turned DEA (Drug’s Enforcement Agency) informer after being arrested in the US for conspiracy to distribute narcotics. 

When the Armenian turned informer US law enforcers began communicating with British Customs officers. As a result of the Armenians information Customs were able to trace a £10million importation, concealed in the false bottom of a horse box. Initiating ‘Operation Flotilla’, officers tracked a Dutchman who had been hired to drive the cargo into England via Ramsgate. The haul was eventually driven to a garage behind a house in Mays Lane, Barnet, where customs swooped. They seized 90kg of high purity heroin. David Telli was sentenced to 25 years at Snaresbrook Crown Court, later reduced on appeal. 

One of the earliest trials of heroin trafficking by Turkish criminals in north east London was heard at the Old Bailey in 1994, it concerned two men linked to the Turkish ‘Tottenham Boys’ network, with the common Turkish surname of Ates, although detectives had only seized a relatively small amount of heroin from a ‘safe house’ in north-west London – 8.8kg. Meanwhile, around the same time in the neighbouring area of Hackney, Customs & Excise had learnt of a consignment of heroin totalling 187kg that was headed for an address in Lea Bridge Road, Clapton. The target was Bozkurt Cevic who was a key player in heroin trafficking between Turkey and London who had organised the reception and storage of at least 11 consignments worth £22million between 1992 and 1994. 

The heroin was transported by lorries from Turkey concealed within bales of cotton, rolls of knitted cotton cloth. On his final consignment, Cevic was under Customs surveillance upon arrival at Heathrow after coming off a flight from Istanbul. He booked into a luxury hotel in Hyde Park Square, it was on the same day that the consignment was arriving through Dover port after crossing the English Channel by ferry. His role in London was to organise the reception and storage in preparation for wholesale distribution. The jury convicted Cevic of conspiracy to import heroin and received a 20-year-sentence. 

Another of London’s largest heroin trafficking networks was reportedly run by Taner Konakli and Faruk Koroglu, who were based in the London Borough of Hackney. According to true crime author Tony Thompson the aforementioned Mehmet Kaygisiz, shot dead in 1994, was a contact of Faruk Koroglu who was convicted alongside Taner Konakli in 1995 of importing £7million worth of heroin. According to Thompson, Farok ran the drugs syndicate from behind a mobile phone front company (1995, p.359). Two years later members of the same network from Hackney, including Yucel Konakli and former Turkey football international Gungor Tekin, were snared by an undercover Customs officer as part of another £7million heroin trafficking plot. 

Gungor Tekin, who once played for Galatasary and the national side, was alleged to have headed the gang who smuggled 68kg of heroin through a Kent port. A Customs and Excise team discovered the heroin hidden in a secret compartment located under the floor of a minibus. Tekin, Yucel Konakli and two other men were followed from London to the Medway service station on the M2 where they were intercepted. During the case further evidence of cooperating among criminal communities was uncovered by European law enforcement agencies, with this particular hall involving those with links to Turkish, Bulgarian, Albanian and Czech criminals. Tekin was jailed for 23 years and Konakli for 18 years at Kingston Crown Court in 1998. 

The next major traffickers to fall in north-east London were Muslum Simsek, who was alleged to have headed a professional and ruthless organisation with its distribution base in Wood Green, north London where the Kurdish Baybasin clan are dominant. Simsek, who based himself in a luxury flat in the London Docklands, was aided in his business by two compatriots, Ali Aksu of Bounds Green and Huseyin Kaynak of nearby Wood Green. Four months before seizing nearly 200kg of heroin brought into the country by Simsek’s network, customs officers began ‘Operation Fletcher’ in a bid to smash the Kurdish gang and Simsek and Aksu were placed under surveillance. During surveillance the pair were tailed to an area near Vauxhaul Railway Station. Here officers observed them removing packages from a special compartment concealed within a tour bus. 

For operational reasons, the driver was allowed to pick up the tourists, who were from the Czech Republic, and travel back into Europe. It is thought that 50kg of drugs were delivered on this occasion (not included as part of the charge). Surveillance continued and Simsek and Aksu were later arrested by armed officers in possession of three black hold alls containing 66kg of heroin, whilst another 72kg was found in a vehicle owned by Aksu and 9kg at Kaynak’s address in Wood Green. On September 14, 1995, Czech coach driver Tomas Honz, from Liberic, was observed waiting with his bus at Westminster Abbey whilst a party of Czech teachers toured the site. When nobody turned up to collect the consignment he rounded up his passengers and drove back to Ramsgate where customs swooped. 

Fifty kilos of heroin were recovered from a compartment concealed beneath one of the bus’ wheel arches. At the time, the 198.5kg haul was the second-largest ever seized in Britain. Judge Jeffrey, at Southwark Crown Court, told Muslum Simsek that he was an “active, enthusiastic and ruthless” participant in the conspiracy, as he was handed a 30 year sentence for conspiracy to import. Ali Aksu, who was the only defendant to plead guilty, was sentenced to 20 years, while Huseyin Kaynak was jailed for 24 years. Bus driver Tomas Honz received 26 years. Like Simsek, Selim Duzgun from nearby Tottenham, north London, was branded by the judge as ruthless having been found guilty of conspiracy to supply heroin the following month. Duzgun and an accomplice were caught with £515k worth of heroin and almost £2,000, some of which was in foreign currency including Deutschmarks. In Duzgun’s home police also recovered a Browning pistol with silencer, together with 25 rounds of ammunition. 

In February 1998, two men allegedly linked to the Turkish ‘Tottenham Boys’ of north London proved they had no head for heights when they arrived at London’s Blackwall tunnel in an oversized lorry with a consignment of heroin. The 66kg load, worth an estimated £7.23million, was arranged via an Iranian trafficker based in Amsterdam and arrived at Dover on a ferry from Zeebrugge. Acting on a tip off undercover Customs officers tailed the artic eventually into London. Reaching the Blackwall Tunnel, the lorry had blocked the northbound entrance to the busy Thames crossing, two of the gang tailing the lorry in a separate vehicle returned to see what was happening only to further block the southbound traffic. 

Happy customs officer pounced to arrest the gang whilst motorists fumed at the gridlock, believed to be the worst for a Sunday afternoon in decades. The driver of the truck, 50-year-old Mustafa Karinca from Istanbul was convicted of smuggling and sentenced to 14-years whilst Turkish-Cypriot Korkut Eris from Hornsey Road, Holloway, admitted the charge and was jailed for nine years. Feretin Eren of Edmonton, north London, who was a passenger in the lorry cab was acquitted after claiming that he had no idea what was going on. Iranian trafficker Hamid Shamsollahi was jailed for 18 years, found guilty of evading the prohibition on the importation. 

The aforementioned Selim Duzgun from Tottenham, who was jailed for conspiracy to supply heroin in 1997, turned police informer and went on to help jail some of north London, and the United Kingdom’s, biggest drugs traffickers. Under the codename Norman Nice he provided officers at the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) with information on heroin and gave officers valuable insight into the London Turkish criminal community and their involvement in a global network of drugs, arms procurement and people smuggling[x]. One of those he helped bring to justice was Mehmet Ebcin, a reputed powerful figure within the Turkish underworld, who was jailed for 14 years after ‘Operation Ferdinand’ was set up to disrupt the heroin trade in north London. 

Mehmet Ebcin alongside Abdurraham Gencer and Murat Ozkurt were each trapped in a massive surveillance operation mounted by customs. The three were caught red-handed with £800,000 worth of pure heroin after investigators staked out Ozturk in Central Avenue, Edmonton, north London. All three were charged with one count of being knowingly concerned in carrying, harbouring, keeping, concealing or in any manner dealing with the intention of evading prohibition on or before March 20, 2002. The three were jailed for a combined total of 40 years. By this time, moving back to Hackney in east London, Taner Konakli and Faruk Koroglu who were jailed for importing heroin in 1995 were back on the scene but were soon to be snared again. 

Taner Konakli and Faruk Koroglu and two other men were jailed for a total of 36 years in 2004, after they had been caught with wads of cash and high purity heroin worth more than £12million. Customs believed that Taner Konakli and his team were some of the biggest traders of heroin in London. The main men, Konakli and Koroglu, were sitting on a vast stash of 125kg, stored at an address near Hackney’s Kingshold Estate, and were delivering a package of ten kilos to accomplices Errol Williams and Ray Steer when they were all arrested. Judge Christopher Hardy told Ray Steer that he was “at the bottom of the chain, but drug dealers, of course, depend on couriers such as you, taking the risks” whilst Errol Williams was acting as a minder to Steer. 

Faraok Koroglu was accused of being much further up the chain whilst Taner Konakli of Manor House was said by the judge to have been at the top of this particular chain, as he agreed in his interview, and was looking after and distributing, as directed, this particular consignment. Each was jailed for 14 years and 12 years at Southwark Crown Court in December 2004. A number of the aforementioned cases considered during the period covering 1994-2004, and excluding that of David Telli, are alleged to be linked to the two main organised groups in north east London – the Tottenham Boys and the Bombacilars. An overarching Godfather, or ‘Reis’ or ‘baba’ (Turkish for the Godfather or Captain) has never been identified within the Tottenham Boys organisation although there are believed to be a number of families that fall underneath that label. The Bombacilars, or Bombers, on the other hand are thought to be part of the Baybasin Clan, headed by members of the Baybasin family, who as well as being involved in heroin trafficking, have also been linked another common activity of Turkish organised crime – people smuggling. 

People Smuggling 

What made the people smuggling operation linked to the Baybasin Clan in London unique was that amongst those smuggled were ‘VIP’ illegal immigrants – relatives of the Baybasins and members of their organisation. Organised by Mensur Hassan, who had previously been sentenced to five years for smuggling 20 immigrants at a time in vans, he began the operation soon after his early release from prison. Hassan claimed that he was forced to set up the smuggling business by members of the Baybasin Clan after being introduced via members of the Bombacilar’s whom he had met in Pentonville prison, north London. In 2004 he recruited confidence trickster Wyatt Anderson, who had 92 previous convictions under eight aliases, to use his six-passenger Piper Cherokee plane to ferry illegal immigrants from Europe to quiet airstrips around London. 

Members of the gang staked out airstrips well in advance of any flight to make sure the cargo could be quickly dropped off without attracting any attention. They were known to have landed at Southwater near Horsham, West Sussex, Bourn in Cambridgeshire, Little Staughton, Bedfordshire and Lamberhurst, Kent. The immigrants were then driven to a café in Green Lanes, north London, where the cash was handed over and they were settled into the Turkish community. During the trial jurors were told that Mensur Hassan was forced to smuggle the immigrants into Britain to pay back a £150,000 debt owed to the Baybasin Clan. 

Both Hassan and Anderson used defence of duress. Hassan claimed he was told his family would be hurt and his wife raped in front of his eyes if he did not do their bidding. Anderson claimed Hassan had showed him photos of tortured and dead victims and refused to give evidence, relying on claims made by Hassan to back up his defence of duress. He refused to give evidence at the trial and appeared throughout wearing a neck brace and using a crutch to walk. He told police he had been assaulted by two men of Middle Eastern appearance. 

The National Crime Squad finally intercepted the smuggling enterprise when gang members collected five immigrants at a grass field in Lamberhurst, Kent. Hassan who had begun the operation was later jailed for 10 years for conspiracy to facilitate illegal entry to the United Kingdom, whilst Anderson was jailed for seven years. Another member of the gang who owned a café in Green Lanes at the centre of the plot was jailed for three years whilst other conspirators received sentences of between eight months and two years. 

Perhaps the most well known case of people smuggling in the United Kingdom was that which claimed that lives of 58 Chinese illegal immigrants in 2000. The immigrant bodies were found hidden in the back of a sealed lorry container at Dover docks. Whilst the victims had paid their fees to Chinese Snakehead (Triad) gangsters to gain access into the United Kingdom, a Turkish criminal of a local mafia gang was sub-contracted to take responsibility for the final part of the journey from Rotterdam into England. Gurbel Ozcan, contracted by Chinese gangsters, had become concerned at the backlog of immigrants building up in Rotterdam and ordered the lorries to be overloaded. Tragically, in this instance the overloaded lorry led to the deaths of 58 people who died from lack of oxygen whilst trapped in the sealed container. 

Further work by the Metropolitan Police, working with Europol, Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and United Kingdom Borders Agency (UKBA), in 2008 uncovered a large smuggling operation whereby Turkish organised criminals were consistently working alongside Chinese criminals in leading roles. With various transit points across Europe, including Brussels, Ghent, Paris and Dunkirk, Turkish criminals were facilitating the smuggling of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants into London where they would be delivered predominantly to Triad gangs, and utilised as cheap labour, street traders and ‘gardners’ in cannabis factories for example. 

The Gangs 

At the highest level of the Turkish and Kurdish mafia are clan based families with roots in the predominantly feudal societies of south east Turkey. These families are known by some as the heroin godfathers, international heroin traffickers at the top of worldwide networks. Heads of these families are scattered across the world, known by the surnames of Polat, Aksoy, Koylan, Yildrim, Kockaya and Baybasin – the latter with a notable presence in London. In each country and major city across the globe there are Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Kurdish families with direct contact or access to these clans. The families which make up the Tottenham Boys and Bombers in north east London for example are rarely spoken about individually in the British media. The NCIS and Metropolitan Police have previously estimated there to be around a dozen families operating in north east London. Many of those convicted or involved in crimes linked to the Tottenham Boys and the Bombers often share surnames such as Ates, Arslan, Eren, Armagan, Karakas, Konakli, Guven, Kitay, Canturk/Janturk and so on. 

Where heroin trafficking is concerned, those involved in criminal activity for groups such as the Tottenham Boys and the Bombers are responsible for regional distribution within the United Kingdom and Ireland and have been for many years. In August 1995 Yilmaz Kaya and Suleyman Ergun from London were observed by customs travelling frequently to Liverpool where they supplied the ‘Liverpool Mafia’, and infamous Merseyside traffickers such as John Haase and Paul Bennett with heroin. The four aforementioned were each jailed for up to 20 years for running a £15million heroin racket. In 2001 Erdinc Uckach from Stoke Newington, described as a senior figure at the London end, was tried in relation to a 27kg shipment of heroin which was destined for drug markets in Leeds and Birmingham, whilst a shipment around the same time recovered by the Irish Gardai had originated from a Turkish family in London. 

The Gardai seizure was destined for the districts of Crumlin and Drimnagh in Dublin whereby a local feud between drug gangs had claimed 18 lives between 2000 and 2012[xi]. According to intelligence received by the Guardia Civil from Spanish police, Irish criminals Patrick Doyle and Frederick Thompson, from Crumlin, whilst in the Costa Del Sol had been warned by Turkish criminals that they would be murdered if they did not pay outstanding bills for a number of heroin shipments[xii]. The pair had been introduced to a Turkish family from London who had been supplying them with heroin imported from Afghanistan. Doyle was killed shortly after the threat in 2008 whilst sat in his BMW X5 in Spain, ambushed by gunmen who fired over two dozen shots into his body from a machine pistol. 

There is some uncertainty, and certainly speculation, within the media as to who actually carried out the killing of Patrick Doyle. Whilst an article in the Sunday Tribune pointed to Turkish criminals, Gang Land author Tony Thompson (2009) contends that the hit was carried out by Russians after Doyle had assaulted an associate of the Russian Mafia and a further article in March 2013[xiii] (albeit in the Sun) revealed that the hit was brought on by ‘Irish Godfather’ Christy Kinahan over £500k worth of missing drug money. 

The most infamous family leading the way in the United Kingdom has been the Baybasin Clan, headed by heroin “Emperor” and long time Turkish baba Huseyin Baybasin, later replaced by his brother Abdullah Baybasin. Frequently linked to the Baybasin Clan in London there have been the Kurdish Bulldogs from Wood Green, north London, and the Bombacilars (or Bombers) from Hackney, east London, who rival the Tottenham Boys. Whilst these three allegiances contain different families, at the bottom entry level where young men and teenagers have previously made their mark are the street gangs from which they are recruited. Street gangs within the Turkish and Kurdish community of north east London were once known under a variety of names such as the Rowdy Kurdz, Mad Turks, Snooker Boys, MIT and so on (see further details under Street Gangs). 

Baybasin Clan – The Emperor* 

In 1995 Interpol issues a warrant for the arrest of Huseyin Baybasin at the request of the Republic of Turkey. It followed extensive interviews in which Huseyin had told the Turkish media that the Turkish state at its highest level was actively involved in the trafficking of drugs and the murder of political opponents. He claimed that high ranking officials, including Turkish consulates abroad, were involved in organised crime. The Turkish state, obviously, rubbished his claims, however, suspicions of a “deep state” were almost confirmed a year later when a car crashed in the town of Sursurluk. Inside the vehicle there was a senior chief of police, a prominent politician and a wanted assassin with a history of involvement in organised crime. The crash revealed the telling associations between state officials and organised criminals in Turkey. 

Huseyin Baybasin was born in June 1956 in south east Turkey in the settlement of Lice. Lice is a Kurdish area and is also the birthplace of the PKK, it also happens to fall within the smuggling province of Diyabakir, one of the least developed areas of Turkey. Huseyin was from a large family of which many members were known to police. In one clash with police, over smuggling issues, the brother of Huseyin was killed and his uncle was seriously wounded. His early smuggling and contraband career began with selling roses and paprikas to the wealthier residents; he eventually went on to become a street trader in his spare time after school. Although his sales at this time were not illegal items, they had come from neighbouring Syria, and bringing in items across the border was prohibited. 

Leaving home at the age of 17, Huseyin moved to Istanbul where he began work in the cigarette smuggling industry, the cigarette industry was almost entirely under the control of organised criminals in Turkey. He began to diversify and ventured into a range of different products which earned him the nickname ‘Spider’, because he had a hand in everything. During an interview, with criminologists Frank Bovenkerk and Yucel Yesilgoz, Huseyin said that he and his associates were aided in their activities by corrupt police and government officials – the headquarters of many dealings was the Marmaracafe, Istanbul. Huseyin eventually landed up in a military prison in Edirne, which sits on the main route to Europe close to the border with Bulgaria, whilst here in 1977 he first learned about heroin smuggling to Germany. After being released from prison, Huseyin and his friends set up a travel agency in 1981 with a 28 coach fleet. This was no ordinary travel agency, it was a front to disguise the transportation of heroin into Belgium, Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom. Whilst building his network throughout Europe Huseyin began to identify more as a Kurd, his understandings of politics increased and he started to support financially the struggle of the Kurdish people[xiv]

Before Huseyin Baybasin became infamously known as the Emporer, he had spent five years in an English prison under the false name of Nejdet Yilmaz. Whilst in prison in England he was visited by Turkish authorities, aware of his true identity, who negotiated his release in exchange for a British convict who was being held in Turkey. Europe’s answer to Pablo Escobar, he became to heroin what the Colombian was to cocaine. In 1992 one of Huseyin’s shipments, a 3,000kg base of morphine was lost when a ship called the Kismetin 1 sank in the Mediterranean. Eventually, almost 10 years later and after much heroin trafficking, the Emporer was jailed for life in Holland in July 2002. By this time his family had established themselves and their base in London, with several key figures within the Baybasin Clan including his brothers Sirin, Mehmet and Abdullah moving into the leafy suburbs of Barnet. 

Whilst in London the Baybasin’s began to cultivate political contacts, including local ward councillor Alan Sloam, once a well-known figure in north London party circles. Sloam had persuaded local MP, Tony McNulty, to support Huseyin’s wife with visits to her husband in the Netherlands. He was later barred from holding office for a year for deception in an unrelated matter. Another political figure, Labour MEP Claude Moraes, was also persuaded to raise questions on Huseyin’s behalf to the European Parliament. A property empire built up by Huseyin in London included several residential mansions around Edgware, car sales businesses and even a retirement home for policemen in Hove, Sussex. Further to this he owned hotels in Istanbul and a factory in his hometown of Lice. 

Huseyin eventually agreed to tell customs investigators what he knew about the involvement of senior Turkish politicians and officials in the international heroin trade. Subsequently his family were encouraged, and even aided in their travel, by customs to come to the United Kingdom. A deal brokered between Huseyin Baybasin and United Kingdom Customs and Excise was disclosed during the trial of his brother Abdullah in 2004. 

Kurdish Bulldogs 

Kurdish Bulldogs was the name of an organisation which fell under the control of the Baybasin Clan. They are located around Green Lanes in Harringay, north London. In 2002 violence flared between the Kurdish Bulldogs and loyalist members, and supporters, of the PKK (restyled as Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress, KADEK) in Green Lanes. Known as ‘The Battle of Green Lanes’, it was thought that business owners were unhappy at paying ‘revolutionary taxes’, which were simply lining the pockets of the Baybasin Clan. Following the outbreak, which involved over 40 people and left three men with gunshot wounds, a Turkish Kurdish police taskforce was assigned to monitor criminal activity in the area. In the typical public reassurance display of strength 500 police officers carried out a series of co-ordinated raids in Green Lanes a couple of months later. 

The police activity in January 2003 raided 15 addresses including homes, businesses, gambling dens, cafes and a fruit stall, all of which were linked to the Baybasin Clan. Various media reports quoting police detectives described the Baybasin Clan as one of the biggest organised crime groups in Britain, and as the kingpins of the international heroin trafficking trade. Guns, drugs and £13,000 were recovered from one address, whilst two members of the Baybasins were arrested at the then £1million family home in tree-lined Dukes Avenue, Edgware. Simultaneously at a cafe in Wood Green police entered an illegal gambling den where they were attacked by a man brandishing a two-foot metal kebab skewer. At the cafe a taser gun, cocaine, and £3,000 concealed inside a pool table were recovered[xv]. During the three month operation, codenamed Narita, there were a total of 300 arrests. 

One of the most disturbing finds of Operation Naritas successive operation, Operation Tiller, was a torture ‘chamber of horrors’, located in a scruffy bedsit off Green Lanes and protected by a heavily fortified front door. It was so well protected that officers had to cut a hole through the wall in order break down the two metal gates and smash the windows to gain entry. Detectives were of the belief that the address was used by enforcers to discipline local businessmen who refused to pay protection money but more commonly to settle drug debts. In one room there were two large metal hooks fixed to the ceiling, lengths of thick electric cable were used to suspend victims from them. In a nearby flat police found machetes, loaded handguns, drugs, counterfeit money and equipment that was used for forging passports[xvi]. The current status of the Kurdish Bulldogs is unknown, currently the most recognised organisation that sits beneath the Baybasin Clan are most commonly known as the Bombers. 

Bombers / Bombacilar 

Bombacilar translates from Turkish to English as Bombers, although the media often refer to Bombacilar as ‘bomb makers’ and used varied spellings of Bombacilar. The Bombacilar are located throughout north east London, although most commonly found within the London Borough of Hackney. 

This faction of the Baybasin Clan is said to have acquired a reputation for their ruthlessness as enforcers and intimidators of the Kurdish community in north east London, largely through extortion and protection rackets. The extent of revolutionary taxing is largely unknown in London, reports to authorities are rare and certainly few and far between reach the courts. More commonly people smuggling, drug trafficking and serious violence are the most reported activities of the Bombacilar. Following the imprisonment of Huseyin Baybasin and after the Battle of Green Lanes, Abdullah Baybasin, with the Bombacilar as his workforce, took over his brothers heroin empire. Nicknamed Apo – Uncle, which is also an alias of Abdullah Ocalan who founded the PKK, he went on to head drugs, smuggling and extortion activities from his wheelchair (Abdullah Baybasin was left disabled after being hit by a bullet in a gunfight during a drug deal gone wrong in Amsterdam in the 1980’s). 

Abdullah Baybasin controlled the organisation from the rear of a shop in Harringay which he would visit twice a week to give orders. A surveillance operation by the National Crime Squad managed to bug the shop with a camera and microphones in order to record discussions between Abdullah and his subordinates. Footage also captured the moment when an errant member of the gang was stripped, beaten and threatened with the removal of his penis by machete. A host of criminal conspiracies were recorded, they included plans for petrol-bomb attacks on shops that would not pay protection. Unbeknown to law enforcement investigators, Customs and Excise were actively helping members of the Baybasin family enter Britain because he and his brother Huseyin had cooperated with them[xvii]. Viewers of the recorded footage likened the tapes to watching scenes from the Godfather movie. One spectator commented that people were clearly in awe of Abdullah and would enter the room of the cafe, kiss Abdullah’s hand, and then retreat as he spoke in a whisper to one of his aides. 

In 2003 three members of the Bombacilar, acting on behalf of Baybasin, were charged with bringing 200kg worth of heroin, with an estimated street value of £20million, into the United Kingdom. Arrests were made after customs officers, joined by colleagues from the Flying Squad and CO19, discovered the drugs at a warehouse in east London. The heroin was hidden within a consignment of clothing which had been imported from Germany. Those arrested were from the Kingsmead Estate in Hackney and Green Lanes in Harringay. A further operation a year later set up by police to tackle the Bombacilar, known as Operation Lacoste, involved 400 police officers. A series of coordinated raids on suspected dealing premises, including cafes, shops and a snooker hall, led to 15 arrests. The two part operation intercepted 50 stun guns and 38 imitation firearms, as well as seizing quantities of heroin and cannabis. 

By 2006 the surveillance had paid off. Abdullah Baybasin conceded to submitting a guilty plea for extortion at Woolwich Crown Court whereby the judge told seven members of his gang, who were jailed for between five and seven years, that they were part of “an extortion racket, a mafia like operation, run by Abdullah Baybasin. It was a racket run against your countrymen, Kurds and Turks, experiencing their terrified helplessness in the face of this organised gang”. Despite being found guilty in the trial Abudullah was accepted as a genuine refugee and granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, accepting that his own life was under threat back home as a result of his supergrass brother Huseyin naming corrupt Turkish politicians. Evidence and surveillance revealed how the Bombacilars exploited the businesses of their countrymen, taking fees or a percentage from debts collected in respect of the sale or lease of property or from money lent by the leader of the gang. 

Each defendant pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit blackmail, one count of conspiracy to commit arson and others pleaded guilty to various counts of wounding with intent, possession of firearms and possession with intent to supply drugs. Those found guilty or brought to trial included Rifat Dincer, Erdal Ozmen, Irfan Comooglu, Engin Gundiz, Etem Gezen, Mehmet Aziz Karatas, Sait Yuzen, Ibrahim Kadir Aslan, Sinan Batall Gul, Abdullah Baybasin and Ruknettin Basbaydar. Baybasin was referred to as the leader of the Bombacilar’s and Basbaydar was second in command. It was no secret that Abdullah was in charge, he featured in an episode of Ross Kemp on Gangs and openly bragged of involvement in the heroin trade. It was established that Yusen and Karatas were fairly senior whilst Comooglu, Gezen an Gul were high ranking enforcers. 

Following in his brothers footsteps, it was alleged that Abdullah Baybasin informed on other traffickers linked to his organisation, including Recep Yilmaz and David Powell. David Powell, known as the ‘Transport Guy’ used his legitimate freight business to move huge shipments of heroin across the English Channel for profits of £100,000 per week. Such was Powell’s reputation, the prosecution applied for the trial to be held without a jury over fears that they could be vulnerable to intimidation or bribery. The network was broken during the surveillance against the Bombacilars after police bugged the luxury fleet of cars of Recep Yilmaz. Yilmaz owned a legitimate car showroom business on Wood Green High Road, Eaglespeed. A shoot out took place here in 2001 after Albanian criminals were believed to have been trying to muscle in on the heroin trade. At the scene police recovered a .45 Magnum, complete with hollowed out bullets, and 31 spent cartridges. 

Some people believe that the Tottenham Boys are allies, although not aligned, with the Albanian Mafia in north London (active around N22, N13, N11), together against the Bombacilars and Baybasin Clan, although this is not confirmed. Recep Yilmaz pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was jailed for 18 years. David Powell was jailed for 17 years in 2008 having been convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, having already served four years and 300 days in custody from a trial dating back to 2004. 

Since at least 2003 the Bombacilar have been engaged in a tit-for-tat war with the Tottenham Boys, this has involved a handful of families on each side of the two organisations (see Bombacilar versus Tottenham Boys). During the feud between the Bombacilar and the Tottenham Boys there have been a number of murders, some of which have been carried out, or have involved, members of local street gangs. Within both Hackney (Bombacilar controlled) and Haringey (Tottenham Boy dominated) there are a number of street gangs, some of which have been involved in the mid-lower level distribution of heroin which has been trafficked by organised Turkish criminals. Street gangs in Hackney which have had individuals positively confirmed as being in association with the Bombacilars include A-Road (Amhurst Road), Kingshold/KOB, Lordship/LORD, Manor House Boys and Soldiers of Shakespeare, for example (see Street Gangs). 

Tottenham Boys 

The Tottenham Boys are a Turkish organised crime group who are situated throughout north east London, including Tottenham, Edmonton, Enfield, Islington and Walthamstow. The organisation is believed to be made up of different families at the highest levels, whilst in the past there have been street based groups which aided with the recruitment of proven members outside of the main families. These youth wings were once known by names such as Angry Turks, Istanbul Youth, Selby, Snooker Boys, Tottenham Turks, White Hart Lane Turks and so on. It is unknown whether or not the youth wings still have recognisable names; however, they are still present in numerous areas of Enfield and Haringey in particular. 

Whilst the organised crime group has been active since the 1990’s, it was not until 2002 that it was officially recognised in the media when a Kurdish community leader told reporters that there were three main groups in north east London, “They are the Bombacilars gang from Hackney, with about 120 members; the Tottenham Boys, from Tottenham, with around 70 members; and the Kurdish Bulldogs, with about 60 to 70 members, from Wood Green” he said[xviii]. In common with the Bombacilar, the Tottenham Boys have been involved in the heroin trade and later cannabis, however, there is little available reliable information to suggest that they are involved in revolutionary taxing like their rivals. Drugs appear to be their main trade as well as robbery and taxing. In 2005 armed police raided the believed headquarters of the Tottenham Boys, a cafe in Hornsey Road, Islington, north London. The raid was part of Operation Berryville. 

Operation Berryville was a four-week investigation focusing on a string of violent armed robberies committed by members of the Tottenham Boys. At least 15 armed robberies had been reported to police whereby members of the gang brandished handguns and swords as they targeted snooker halls, internet cafes and brothels. It was not the first time members of the organisation had been arrested, but previous prosecutions of the men had failed because of witness intimidation. Police said that the activities of the Tottenham Boys spread as far as northern Turkey and Cyprus and that they considered themselves as “untouchable”[xix]. Whilst guns, drugs and ammunition were seized at the cafe prosecutions again failed. 

Since at least 2003 the Tottenham Boys have been in rivalry with the Bombacilar, engaging in tit-for-tat violence which has resulted in a number of shootings and homicides in north east London. This has occurred in cycles with peaks in violence notable in 2007, 2009 and 2012-13 (see Bombacilar versus Tottenham Boys). During this period the gang has continued to be involved in the drugs trade, violence and intimidation for financial gain and firearms. One case relating to the distribution of cannabis in east London saw five members, or associates, of the Tottenham Boys brought to trial for the conspiracy. They were Rudi Silveira, Kaan Erdogan, Izzet Eren, Bayram Eren and Ozcan Eren. 

The conspiracy ran over a 10 month period in 2009-10 when Izzet and Ozcan leased two shop premises, the E17 Club in St James Street, Walthamstow, and the Istanbul Social Club in Gants Hill. These were fronts for retail premises from which cannabis was sold, complete with CCTV, steel doors and hatches for protection. Cannabis was sold to the public from these premises seven days a week, 12 hours a day. Each shop was calculated to have earned £12,000 per week (£1.3m per annum).The judge accepted that Izzet Eren was the head of the conspiracy and Ozcan Eren was his right hand man. A search warrant was executed at the E17 Club in August 2009 and 206 sealed bags of cannabis containing 276grams of skunk cannabis were found. The Eren’s accepted they were the leaseholders but denied all knowledge of the drugs and were bailed. 

Eight days later a second search was conducted at the premise. A car park outside the club was found to have 51 bags of cannabis wedged into its wheel arch. Three days later Izzet’s home address was searched and £27,930 in cash was found, displaying traces of THC – the active ingredient of cannabis. At the Istanbul Social Club, undercover officers bought cannabis on a number of occasions. During one period of surveillance, of 6 hours, 84 people were observed entering and leaving the club after a very short length of time. In November 2009 Izzet Eren, the leaseholder, was in prison on unrelated matters and Ozcan Eren returned from a trip to Turkey to carry on running the two premises. A further search of a flat in Walthamstow uncovered 1.7kg of cannabis with Ozcan and Bayram Eren’s fingerprints. 

Each person in the conspiracy was sentenced to between 2 and 8 years in July 2010. Appeals to have their sentences reduced were refused in February 2012 before Lord Justice Richards – R v Erdogan (Kaan) & ors (2012). 

In 2010 and 2011 three members, or associates, of the Tottenham Boys were handed Anti-Social Behaviour Orders granted by Haringey Magistrates. The first was granted against Kemal Eren who was hit with the wide ranging ASBO which linked him to possession of cannabis, public disorder, and attempted arson. He was banned from associating with 17 named people, from threatening or intimidating people, and from entering a designated area of Tottenham. Kemal Eren, sometimes known by the nickname No Fingers, was described as a prominent gang figure in north London, even referred to as a gang leader[xx]

An associate of Kemal Eren, also described as an active and influential gang member[xxi], was also banned from most of Tottenham including every William Hill betting shop in the London Borough of Haringey. Police told magistrates that Omar Murat was a key member of a gang involved in drugs and violence. A similar ASBO to that of Kemal, his order stops him associating with 19 named people and from entering parts of Tottenham. The interim ASBO had already been breached by Murat when he was caught with someone he had been banned associating with. 

Street Gangs 

Longstanding street gangs in north east London have become increasingly involved with the Turkish and Kurdish organised crime groups. Organised crime groups such as the Bombacilar and Tottenham Boys have continually distanced themselves from the output of drugs at the lowest levels of the drug market – the exception being younger future recruits of the organisations, who increasingly are British born second and third generation and have grown up amongst the street gangs, who act as middle men. One of those alleged middle men was Erkan Konakli, known affectionately as Erks[xxii]. In 2003 he was shot in the back after being lured to a flat used by a suspected heroin dealer known as Sugar. It was said that Sugar, who had links to the Soldiers of Shakespeare gang, had owed hundreds of pounds in drug money to Erkan Konakli. Other links between the Bombacilar in Hackney to street gangs have been confirmed with A-Road (Amhurst Road), Kingshold/KOB, Lordship/LORD, Manor House Boys and the aforementioned Soldiers of Shakespeare. 

In north London, the Tottenham Boys have had established links with a succession of street gangs including the Tottenham Mandem/TMD, Broadwater Farm/BWF, Ida and Northumberland Park/NPK. Members of Tottenham street gangs have been used or involved in high profile murder cases involving Turkish victims, including those of Cem Duzgun and Gulistan Subasi, both in Clapton. In 2001 members of the TMD were brought to trial for their alleged involvement in the murder of Turkish drug dealer Oguzhin Ozdemir. Oguzhin was kidnapped off the street after he claimed that he had lost heroin he received and could not refund the cash. His body was discovered on a north London riverbank with two bullets in his back and two in the back of his head. Four members of the TMD, including a figure called Stitcher who has close connections with the Tottenham Boys, admitted to kidnapping in July 2001, but no evidence was offered for the charge of murder. CCTV cameras picked up Oguzhin’s BMW being driven to Walthamstow where it was dumped, a TMD member known as Mouse was convicted also in July 2001 for perverting the course of justice after setting fire to the vehicle. 

Bridging the gap between the street gangs and organised crime are the likes of Ozgur Ozdemir. Ozgur, alleged to be a member of the A-Road gang, from Amhurst Road, was involved in a Wild-West-style shootout with rivals linked to another group called the Holly Street Boys. Ozgur, riding pillion on a motorbike, opened fire on Sina Naroei, who returned shots at the scene in busy Kingsland Road in April 2010. Naroei was not hit, but another Holly Street boy was hit in the leg. A few months later Ozgur was seriously injured after being blasted with a shotgun. Whilst both men were jailed indefinitely for their parts, Ozgur continued to run a major trafficking operation from behind bars. Ozgur ordered his lieutenants, brother Sefer Ozdemir and Cantekin Yilmaz, to obtain large quantities of class A drugs in east London. 

In what is a common practice by urban street gangs involved in the drugs trade, the A-Road gang established ‘country lines’ – whereby markets are served in smaller peripheral towns and cities outside of London. London street gangs have established street dealing networks in numerous towns and cities across England, most predominantly the Eastern and South East regions. Ozgur was arranging for drugs to be distributed to Hastings and Eastbourne in Sussex by phone from Pentonville Prison in north London, Highpoint in Suffolk and Onley in Warwickshire. Ozgur and Sefer Ozdemir and Cantekin Yilmaz were all sentenced in February 2013. 


Since the turn of the millennium there have been a number of violent feuds within the Turkish underworld of north east London, claiming the lives of numerous people and resulting in over 100 shooting incidents with over 30 recorded as occurring between the Bombacilar and Tottenham Boys in 2009 alone. Over a 12 month period beginning in May 2000 there were three killings in the London Borough of Hackney, east London. On May 25, 2000, Mehmet Adiguzel drove from his Waltham Abbey home to Clapton in east London. As he sat in a traffic jam in Brooke Road a masked gunman approached his vehicle and emptied six shots from a .38 revolver into his neck and face. 

Prior to his death Adiguzel was alleged to have been involved in drug dealing, he was also described as a gambler who had been ‘down on his luck’. Furthermore, Adiguzel was a registered police informant. On the day of his death he had been gambling at a café on Clarence Road. Main suspect Murat Over admitted shooting Adiguzel to his girlfriend three-weeks later. Over had previous convictions for witness intimidation and by the time of his trial he had been convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin. Murat Over was jailed for life, a clear motive was never established, however, it was widely reported that the row was over drugs territory. Less than a year later Hasan Mamali and his friend Sama Mustafa were both shot dead in Balmes Road. Whilst no motive has ever been put forward and the deaths remain unsolved, detectives believed that the pair were linked to the heroin trade[xxiii]

Whilst murder was the case in Hackney, a number of firearms incidents were also beginning to occur in neighbouring Haringey. In one case it was police officers who were fortunate not to have been on the receiving end. During the rush hour on Tottenham High Road police swooped on a vehicle containing three suspects and began a hard stop. The officers smashed the vehicles windows as they attempted to apprehend the wanted men. The men inside ignored the police commands before Alirezar Bozadogan, who was sat in the front passenger seat, pulled out a gun and pointed it directly at an officer. He then proceeded to pull the trigger. Recognising the explosion of a gunshot, the officer and his colleagues dived for cover. No-one was injured and Bozadogan was allowed to walk away for a short-lived period of freedom. 

A similar incident followed a few months later when police were threatened with a semi-automatic weapon and in July 2002 20 shots were fired close to Wood Green police station during a shootout. Police officers rushed to the scene where they recovered three firearms including a .45 Magnum. Later that year, perhaps one of the most well known incidents occurred, it was dubbed the ‘Battle of Green Lanes’. 

Battle of Green Lanes 

In the run up to the battle for Green Lanes the owner of the Dostlar Lokali, an eatery on Green Lanes, north London, had lost large amounts of money from gambling and had closed down the premise whilst he tried to find someone to take over the business. Having refused an offer from his business partner, he instead accepted an offer of £25,000 from a member of the Baybasin family. In a twist of events the owner was then kidnapped on November 6, 2002, falsely imprisoned by his business partner unhappy at the Baybasin deal. Then three days later members of the Baybasin street workforce, the Bombacilar, carried out an attack on the Shammas Abbas grocery store. The Bombacilar in effect were intimidating and extorting business owners on this stretch of Green Lanes for some time, or as described later running a protection racket with force. This had been causing friction between the Bombacilar and the business owners, many who were PKK/KADEK loyalists. The ‘acquisition’ of the Dostlar Lokali by the Baybasin Clan was not well received by many of those who worked in Green Lanes. 

A throng of local businessmen and PKK loyalists decided to take matters into their own hands, and forming a 100-strong mob they ventured to the Dostlar Lokali. Amongst the mob were Hassan Yavus and his son Veysel. They were irate that their relatives store had been attacked by the Bombacilar earlier that day. The Yavus’ along with the rest of the mob rampaged through the Dostlar Lokali, smashing their way into the premise wielding kebab knives, sticks and poles. As the first wave of the mob smashed windows younger members of the Bombacilar fled. 

One of the men present in the cafe was 43-year-old Alisan Dogan. He came to Britain in 1991, with his wife of 23-years, and his two children. On the day of his death he took his severely handicapped son to a local respite centre and spent the rest of the afternoon in the company of his family and friends. He received a call about 1pm asking him to come and clean the carpets at the Doskar Lokali. He reluctantly accepted the job. Whilst some of the men managed to fight their way free, Alisan Dogan was not so lucky, he suffered a wound from which he bled to death. Dogan had nothing to do with the feuding groups. 

Veysel Yavus’ fingerprints were found on a knife stained with the blood of the dead man nearby and was later charged with murder. Veysel, a chef, said he would often carry knives when delivering food to the Dostlar Lokali, which doubled as a late night gambling den. He insisted that he had nothing to do with the killing and he was cleared of all charges. He told the court that ‘The Baybasin are into drugs and guns and all that. They are a mafia family. The Bombacilar are another group who want to be the mafia. The Baybasins have a reputation for violence. Everyone is scared of them in the community. People are scared they might get shot and for their families and what might happen to them. I would not go up against them if I had trouble with them. I was beaten up by the Bombacilar but did not tell the police because I was scared for my business and my family’. 

During the rampage a Kurdish man called Serdar Ozbek was accused of taking part in a fire fight in which three men were shot. He denied three counts of attempted murder. A number of years later Serdar Ozbek was cleared of ordering the murder of Gulistan Subasi, his ex-girlfriend. Guilstan Subasi was shot dead by 15-year-old hitman Santre Sanchez Gayle, a member of the Kensal Green Bloods gang in north west London, in March 2010. He had been recruited by middle men who were said to be linked to one of the north east London organised crime groups. 

Bombacilar versus Tottenham Boys 

The earliest recorded incidents of violence involving the Bombacilar and the Tottenham Boys dates back to September 2003. Bombacilar enforcer Etem Gezen was involved in a raid on a Turkish social club in north London. He discharged a firearm two or three times into the ceiling. The purpose of the raid was to cause grievous bodily harm to those in the club. During this incident one man had his finger chopped off and another was treated for gunshot wounds. The following month on October 2, 2003 an attack was made in the vicinity of a petrol station in North London, in the course of which a large number of shots were fired. Halil Ates was targeted and injured by members of the Bombacilars, including Erdal Ozmen and Kadir Aslan who were recognised at the scene. The following evening a further attack was planned against an off-licence owned by the parents of Haili Ates. Three members of the Bombacilars had gone to attack the premise with a petrol bomb although for reasons unknown they did not carry out the attack. 

A few months after the shooting a pre-arranged meeting took place between members of the two gangs at Lidl car park in Edmonton, north London. During the meet the conversation became heated and men in a silver Mercedes fired shots at rivals who were sat in a blue Vauxhual Vectra. The vehicle was later found abandoned in Lincoln Road, Ponders End, Enfield. For whatever reason this particular feud did not escalate, perhaps it was the sheer number of arrests during targeted work police against the Baybasin’s, Bombacilars and Tottenham Boys throughout 2004 and 2005, although it was not until early in 2006 that many of those involved were sentenced. Over a dozen members of the Baybasin Clan and associated Bombacilar were jailed early in 2006, including the aforementioned Erdal Ozmen and Etem Gezen. 

A renewed bout of violence between the Tottenham Boys and the Bombacilars however was already underway at this point. On January 1, 2006, Gurkan Kan, a DJ working at Eyes Bar in Hackney, along with Zeynel Tasdelen and Yilmaz Tasdelen were all attacked for refusing entry to a group of eight men. Gurkan Kan was stabbed with a dagger. The victims had friends and associates who are part of the Tottenham Boys organisation, whilst the suspects were alleged to be part of the Bombacilar. One of those alleged to have been part of the eight man gang refused entry was Erdal Armagan, the motive for the attack was punishment for being barred from the New Years Eve party. 

Erdal Armagan denied the attempted murder of Kan, who had to be resuscitated by paramedics at the scene, and also denied an alternative count of wounding with intent to cause GBH. He walked free from court after the judge directed the jury to find him not guilty of both charges. He agreed with Armagan’s lawyers that there was no case to answer due to
insufficient evidence. A few months later a Turkish gang member was dragged from his car by police officers after trying to pull a loaded gun on them in Hackney, east London. Incidents again went quiet throughout 2007 and 2008, during this time London saw an unprecedented spike in teenage homicides. 

Early in 2009 rivalry tension arose again between the Tottenham Boys and Bombacilar. An interpersonal dispute began with Kemal Armagan, a Bombacilar, and Mehmet Senpalit, a Tottenham Boy, in January 2009 at the Manor Club in Finsbury Park, north London. A large fight occurred during which bottles were used, punches thrown and Kemal Armagan appeared to have been the principal victim. He was badly injured, angry and worse still publicly humiliated. He threatened to kill those who attacked him blaming the Tottenham Boys, and in particular Mehmet Senpalit. He refused to answer questions posed by the police, implying that he would sort things out himself. 

Shortly after the incident at the Manor Club it was alleged that members of the Bombacilar terrorised a mini-cab office in north London which was under control of the Tottenham Boys, firing shots and robbing the staff. It continued when another shooting took place in Clapton directed against Armagan family interests. Shortly after this shooting, Kemal Armagan was believed to have started to organise his revenge, and made telephone contact with Michael James and Ricardo Dwyer. James was a small time lone criminal who had previously dealt cannabis on behalf of Kemal, he would be the driver and Dwyer it is alleged would be the shooter. 

Before the revenge plan materialised there were more tit-for-tat incidents. The Bombacilar made an attack on a social club in Thane Villas, Holloway – a venue attended by the Tottenham Boys. Then on February 21, members of the Tottenham Boys tried to burn down a Bombacilar haunt called the Mosaic Club. On March 8, Kemal Armagan’s brother Ali was shot and injured, along with fellow Bombacilar Kenan Aydogdu. Finally at 10:40pm on March 22, 2009, 50-year-old Ahmet Paytak received a fatal gunshot wound to the stomach at Euro Food and Wines in Hornsey Road, Holloway, north London. 

The two-man hit team were at Euro Food and Wines to kill Mehmet Senpalit, who it was thought owned the shop, however, at the time of the shooting innocent Ahmet Paytak and his son were just getting ready to close for the night. As they were doing so a motorcycle pulled up onto the pavement, the pillion passenger, armed with a handgun, got off and first shot Ahmet Paytak, who was standing near the doorway. He then approached the doorway before firing further shots into the leg of Huseyin Paytak. Climbing back onto the motorcycle the shooter and rider sped off through a red traffic light as it fled down Seven Sisters Road. 

The bike used was a red and black Benelli TNT 1130cc, of which there are only 112 registered in the United Kingdom of which eight were in London. The bike had been stolen from Camden on October 31, 2008, and was later recovered from the River Lea near South Tottenham. Michael James was arrested the following July after being linked to the bike. He later admitted to being the driver, but claimed that he thought they were going to the premise to steal drugs and had no idea his passenger was armed. James was jailed for at least 30 years in November 2010. Ricardo Dwyer, the alleged gunman, was on trial for murder at the Old Bailey but jurors were unable to reach a verdict following deliberations spanning three days. In April 2013 the prosecution applied for a retrial. 

Further shootings came in the following months across north east London at Bulwer Road (Edmonton), Tariff Road (Tottenham), Seven Sisters Road (Finsbury), Bury Street (Edmonton), Green Street (Enfield), High Road (Tottenham), Lansdowne Road (Tottenham), Printon Mews (Redbridge) and Forest Road (Walthamstow). One person in particular, Yusuf Arslan of the Tottenham Boys was becoming increasingly erratic, involved in several high profile incidents. Yusuf Arslan had twice previously been a victim of shootings in August 2007 and July 2009 at the Pound Shop in Tottenham. On neither occasion did he want the police involved. In August 2009 a further shooting took place at the Pound Shop in Tottenham and the following month a friend of Yusuf Arslan, Izzet Eren, was shot. The Pound Shop in Tottenham was alleged to be a base for the Tottenham Boys. 

By September 2009 Yusuf Arslan was in possession of an Agram sub machine gun and two days after his friend Izzet Eren was shot the Agram was discharged in Tottenham. Nasir Demir and his friend Hamit Coban were driving a white rental van in Tottenham’s Lansdowne Road towards the High Road, when Arslan in a silver vehicle was travelling in the opposite direction. The car pulled in front of the van causing it to stop suddenly before Yusuf Arslan exited and fired four shots into the van. A fragment of one bullet was left in Demir’s arm. Shell cases from the Agram were found at the scene, although the circumstances surrounding this particular shooting are unclear, although Arslan appealed that he was motivated by revenge for his friend Izzet Eren. The victims reported the incident to police at Stamford Hill. 

On October 3, 2009, Oktay Erbasli was with his girlfriend and stepson when he was gunned down by a man on a high-powered motorbike as he sat at traffic lights in Tottenham, north London. Also present was his good friend Izzet Eren. Erbasli ran Tottenham’s Pound Shop and is thought to have been a member of the Tottenham Boys. It has been speculated that his killers were from the rival Bombacilars, with police believing that it was one in a series of shootings which had taken place throughout 2009. The killing currently remains unsolved. Two days later another young man was gunned down at a Turkish social club in Upper Clapton Road, east London. 

Cem Duzgun was killed after being gunned down with a machine pistol outside the Clapton FC Club in east London. It has been speculated that the killing was perpetrated by a member of the Tottenham Boys, and other affiliated street gangs from the area, as a reprisal for the murder of Oktay Erbasli. Duzgun was not believed to be a gang member. Four alleged killers appeared at the Old Bailey on March 4, 2013, and will next appear for a case management hearing on June 6. 

On December 8, 2009, at 11:38pm a cab driver attended an address in N18 for a fare to Tottenham High Road. Three males got in and directed the driver to take them to various locations, eventually going to a massage parlour in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, east London. He waited for them for twenty minutes and then was directed to take them to The Avenue in Tottenham. Armed police had been following the car and a decision was made to stop the vehicle on Ferry Lane, the same location whereby armed police stopped Mark Duggan who was also travelling in a mini cab. A male in the front passenger seat threw a black bag over a large wooden fence, it was recovered and found to contain a modified Brocock revolver handgun loaded with live rounds. One of the occupants was Yusuf Arslan who was wearing body armour. 

Arslan was later convicted of attempted murder and firearms offences. His behaviour was motivated by the shooting of his friend Izzet Eren and the murder of another friend, Oktay Erbasli. Yusuf Arslan told the prosecution that at the end of the day, he knew who had killed his friend, but did not known which one of the Bombacilar it was. 

Following a significant amount of interest in the Tottenham Boys and Bombacilar feud throughout the media, and of course within law enforcement, the situation began to stabilise. Police briefly began deploying armed officers at checkpoints in north east London. Staffed with marksmen and automatic number plate recognition cameras, the points were to deter known criminals with guns moving through the area. Throughout 2010 and 2011 there was again a break period, just like there had been in 2004/05 and 2007/08. During these break period’s members of the gangs are busily involved in their core activities, namely the distribution and control of drugs, whether this be on a major or micro scale – from class A importation, down to cannabis cultivation and the establishment of country lines. 

One reported member of the Tottenham Boys, Ozan Toprak had allegedly ventured into cannabis cultivation during 2010. He and two others were linked to the discovery of a cannabis factory at an address in Frome, Somerset. There were 493 cannabis plants uncovered at the address which forensic examination linked to all three men including Toprak to the scene. No pleas were entered and the case was adjourned until April 12. Less than 12 months later Ali Armagan was murdered on Turnpike Lane in north London, Toprak was an alleged gunman, and the killing sparked fears of renewed violence. 

Ali Armagan was shot dead whilst sat in his Audi A8 in Turnpike Lane, he was hit by a bullet in the neck and bled to death at the scene at around 3:30pm on February 1,2012. Youngis Sagir and Ozan Toprak were charged with murder, and the attempted murder of the passenger. Also brought to trial were Suleyman Tonbul, his son Hasan Tonbul and Mehmet Senel. Kemal Eren, a leading figure within the Tottenham Boys, was suspected of plotting the murder of Armagan who was alleged to be the head of the Bombacilar. 

The Tonbul’s and Senel were alleged to have tipped off Kemal Eren as to the whereabouts of Ali Armagan on the day of the killing, just 51 minutes later he was shot and left for dead. The trio were initially charged with murder but prosecutors accepted pleas to a lesser charge of conspiracy to cause GBH. It was alleged that Yunis Sagir, Ozan Toprak and Kemal Eren were part of a masked hit squad that carried out the killing. Before the trial, Kemal Eren fled to Turkey where he was shot in an attempted assassination and remains in a critical condition. Meanwhile, in March 2013 Sagir and Toprak were cleared of murder. 

A renewed bout of violence began in April 2013 when Zafer Eren, alleged to be a leading figure within the Tottenham Boys, was ambushed and shot dead as he walked out of his gated home in Fontaine Court, Southgate, north London. In a related shooting, a 20-year-old man was shot in a park in South Tottenham. Tottenham MP David Lammy said “I am worried about what appears to be a serious resurgence of Turkish/Kurdish organised crime in London with the shootings in the last few weeks. This raises fears in the community of whom the vast majority are law abiding.”[xxiv]

The Future 

According to SOCA and EUROPOL the market for heroin in the United Kingdom has been in decline, however, there are still an estimated 300,000 users[xxv]. Coinciding with increasing cocaine usage, which is brought into the United Kingdom predominantly via Irish, Colombian and British gangsters, Turkish criminals have increasingly worked with other crime groups in trafficking cocaine. Furthermore, in London they have capitalised on cannabis cultivation. Diversification has no doubt compensated for the declining heroin market. Since 2008 there has been a number of cannabis cafes discovered in London which have been under the control of Turkish criminals. For example, the Kibris Cafe in Green Lanes, Palmers Green and Bar Baron in Philip Lane, Tottenham, both north London. These were subject to closure orders by police. 

In the London Borough of Islington a series of cannabis cafes in Hornsey Road and Seven Sisters Road were discovered and later closed by police. These premises included a business called Firm Cuts, Anadolum Social Club, Gunners Play and unnamed 384 Hornsey Road and 142 Seven Sisters Road. Four of these premises were linked to the Tottenham Boys. The premises attracted a range of crimes including an arson attack and gun fire at 142 Seven Sisters Road, which police believed was linked to Firm Cuts. Crystal meth production was even uncovered in one of the premises, a drug which is quite uncommon in the United Kingdom. The Anadolum Social Club saw one man arrested having left the premise with a loaded pistol, five shots were also fired into this premise on a separate occasion. 

The map showing the location of the above premises, key as follows: A) 142 Seven Sisters Road B) Seven Sisters Road C) Firm Cuts D) Anadolum Social Club E) Gunners Play F) 384 Hornsey Road. 

In 2010 the Ministry of Justice conceded the claim for disability discrimination made by Abdullah Baybasin following his acquittal after a retrial. The prison service paid £20,000 in damages for the degrading treatment which he endured whilst in Belmarsh HMP in London. Abdullah, who is wheelchair bound, claimed that the prison failed to provide him with enough care to bathe and use the lavatory. His conviction was overturned at the judge’s orders over a lack of prosecution evidence. Despite his acquittal the government was still seeking to deport him on the grounds that his presence is not conducive to the national good. He was deported back to Turkey before the end of 2010. 

By early 2011 Abdullah Baybasin had been arrested in Turkey having been associated with the discovery of 281.5kg of cocaine, the largest amount ever found in Turkey. Fourteen others were arrested alongside Abdullah, including his son Cagdas[xxvi]. Interestingly, at the end of 2011 Mehmet Baybasin was jailed as part of a plot to smuggle 40 tonnes of cocaine, worth an estimated £4billion, from South American cartels to the United Kingdom, in coordination with a gang from north Liverpool. 

Paul Taylor headed a Merseyside crew, which had linked up with the Baybasin Clan and other international traffickers. The job was one of the biggest ever undertaken by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). With the help of Mehmet Baybasin, a dealer with international connections, the Merseyside crew were able to expand their own contacts. They planned to ship cocaine from Venezuela before anchoring the boat off Ireland before smuggling the load into Britain. The 24 conspirators were jailed for a combined total of over 200 years, with Mehmet Baybasin being handed a total of 30 years for conspiracy to import cocaine. 

According to SOCA (2013) an estimated 18-23 tonnes of heroin still enter the UK annually, the vast majority of which is derived from Afghanistan with the Balkan Route remaining an important transport nexus. A further 25-30 tonnes of cocaine are trafficked annually whilst 270 tonnes of cannabis, annually, are needed to satisfy the British user demand. Despite increased domestic cultivation, SOCA believe that most cannabis is still imported. London remains a key distribution hub alongside other major other centres such as Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham[xxvii]

Bibliography & References 

*Source: Bovenkerk, F. & Yesilgoz, Y. (2007). The Turkish Mafia: A History of the Heroin Godfathers. Milo: Preston. 

[i] Issa, T., Allen, K. & Ross, A. (2008). Young people’s educational attainment in London’s Turkish, Turkish Kurdish and Turkish Cypriot Communities: A report for the Mayor of London’s Office. London Metropolitan University. Accessed 21.04.2013. 
[ii] The definition of organised crime being used refers to the three-fold typology by Simon Hallsworth and Tara Young, which, contends that members are involved in crime for personal gain, operating almost exclusively in the ‘grey’ or illegal marketplace. Drugs and violence involving firearms are deemed key example behaviours linked to organised crime groups. 
[v] Thompson, T. (1995). Gangland Britain. Hodder & Stoughton: London. 
[vi] Kirby, T. & Kelsey, T. (1992). Kurds ‘ threatened by terrorist group’. The Independent, January 3, p.5, London. 
[vii] Boggan, S., Davenport, J. & Taylor, D. (2002). War on the Godfathers. The Evening Standard, November 21, p.16-17, London. 
[viii] Bennetto, J. (1997). Heroin gangs blamed for eight murders. The Independent, October 9, p.4, London. 
[ix] Bennetto, J. (1996). Turkish gangs muscling in on heroin trade. The Independent, January 2, p.4, London. 
[x] Cowan, R. (2003). Informer claims police left him to mercy of gangs: He risked his life to bring to justice some of the country’s biggest drug barons. Now he claims he has been abandoned by his handlers. The Guardian, December 22, p.1, London. 
[xi] Cusack, J. (2012). This vicious gangland feud is far from over. Irish Independent, October 14, Ireland. 
[xii] McCaffrey, M. (2008). Doyle killed after warning from Turkish drug dealers. Sunday Tribune, February 8, Dublin. 
[xiii] Conlon, O et al (2013). Gun, Sea and Sand: Christy master of murder on Costa Del Crime. The Sun, March 2, p.4-5, Ireland. 
[xv] Hopkins, N. (2003). Police raids aim to smash Turkish mafia. The Guardian, January 23, London. 
[xvi] Southern, K. (2003). Police hit heart of organised crime gangs. Haringey Independent, December 12. 
[xvii] BBC Transcript of File on 4 – Drugs Accessed 23.04.2013 
[xviii] Ibid vii 
[xix] Singh, R. & Davenport, J. (2005). Swoop on terror gang linked to guns and samurai swords, Evening Standard, June 24, London. 
[xx] Kirk, T. (2010). Tottenham gang leader hit with Asbo ban. Haringey Independent, December 16. London. 
[xxi] Kirk, T. (2011). Hendon man part of Tottenham gang banned from bookies. Haringey Independent, January 13. London 
[xxii] See Lordship N16 Mix Accessed 23.04.2013 
[xxiii] Bennetto, J. (2001). Double murder threatens bloody heroin war. The Independent. 
[xxiv] Davenport, J. (2013). North London shootings spark fears of new war between Turkish heroin gangs. Evening Standard, April 24, London. 
[xxv] BBC News (2011) Dramatic drop in amount of heroin in the UK Accessed 25.04.2013