Turkey has started using an artificial intelligence software program named “ASENA” in the fight against drugs, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said.
In a meeting with journalists on May 18, Soylu called “ASENA” the security units’ new “child.”
“We now have a new child, an artificial intelligence program. Since the system came into force, we have solved 3,593 cases [in catching criminals],” Soylu said.
ASENA is an acronym for “Analiz Sistemleri Narkotik Ağı,” roughly translated as “narcotics web of analysis system.”
When asked how the system worked, he declined to give details but gave an example. “When a person goes to a province he had never gone or been before or he/she uses routes he/she had never passed or accommodates at a hotel he/she had never stayed in, then the system starts following that person by making an analysis formed with a comparison of various data.”
The minister highlighted that ASENA once helped security units find explosives in a police car.
“Once, we caught explosives in a police car. We found explosives with the help of it, ASENA alerted us,” he said.
Calling ASENA a “revolution,” the minister noted, “It detects four out of 10 incidents and the estimations always come true.”
The minister said he sees methamphetamine as the “biggest threat for Turkey” as of today.
“The amount of methamphetamine seized in 2016 was 252 kilos. With a 22-times rise, the number became 5,528 kilos in 2021,” he expressed.
“We are face to face with a real poison,” he said, adding that methamphetamine has been sold in all 81 provinces of the country now.
“When I hear that drugs are sold in front of a school, I feel like I’ve been shot in the heart. But we have not heard such allegations for a while,” he said while sharing his happiness.
“We don’t want to hear that anymore, either. If there is such a thing, this means a failure story for us,” he added.
Turkey launched a “National Strategy and Action to Combat Illegal Drugs [2018-23],” the country’s fifth strategic drug policy document in 2018.
The Turkish Penal Code specifies prison sentences of one to two years for those who buy, receive, cultivate, or possess drugs for personal use.
There is also the option of treatment and/or probation of up to three years. If drug users refuse treatment or do not comply with their probation requirements, courts can impose a prison sentence.