23 June 2014//
The Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry has not
allowed any 'salep (the dried tubors of certain orchids)
thievery', in its effort to stem biological smuggling.
Ministry officials evaluated a tip that came from Sivrice
district in Elazig province and then caught six people
gathering salep in rural areas red-handed.
The thieves were captured with their criminal tools and
30 kilograms of salep. Each thief was charged with
'destroying biological varieties', as spelled out in the
Environmental Law, and fined 35,193 TL (about $17K).
Ministry workers replanted the salep orchids.
Previously, 5 professors from Japan's Fukui Prefectural
University were caught in Gaziantep while stealing 182
roots of wild Anatolian wheat. The Ministry fined each of
the 5 Japanese researchers and two people who helped them
31,413 TL (about 15K) because they didn't have permission
to conduct research on Anatolian wheat.
In yet another smuggling incident, two Swiss citizens who
did not have permission to conduct research were caught
gathering 'Hopa vipers' in Artvin.