What about the real thieves? Union leader asks

Mehmet Ozkardas, head of the Civil Servants union (KAMU-SEN), posed this question in a press statement issued yesterday.

He was referring to the government action in which three Customs officials had been named and suspended from work while corruption investigations continue.

Mr Ozkardas said that there were hundreds of warehouses to control and that the Customs office was seriously under-staffed. They had been asking for an increase in staff for many years but the government had turned a deaf ear to them.

He also pointed out that the Customs Department, Harbour Administration Department and even the Tax office had yet to be automated. All this resulted in more pressure on the staff.

He said that the practice of smuggling goods out of the warehouses had been going on for years and that the government was attempting to make scapegoats out of these three officials.

Many firms were releasing goods into the marketplace without paying duty and all they did if they got caught was pay a fine and continue. Mr Ozkardas said that his union, if it felt it appropriate, would disclose such activities.

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