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TURKEY: Pimps, underage prostitutes seized in raid on alleged vice boat

Savarona A sex scandal has gripped Turkey after media reports emerged of how the historic luxury yacht formerly belonging to the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was turned into an floating vice den involving underage prostitutes and rich businessmen.

Turkish prosecutors are moving to take legal action against the Savarona, one the world's largest yachts, according to Turkish media reports.

Turkish law enforcement officers stormed the pompous 400-foot vessel earlier this week as it was sailing near the Turkish Mediterranean town of Gocek. They detained 14 people on board, including foreign businessmen and underage girls brought to Turkey from Russia and Ukraine for high-cost prostitution through foreign modeling agencies, reported Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper.

The young women were allegedly traded among customers for $3,000 to $10,000. 

The raid came after a seven-month investigation prompted by tip to a public prosecutor in the Turkish Antalya district about an an alleged vice ring operating aboard the ship.

A Kazakh national, a businessman identified only as T.A. by the English daily Today's Zaman, allegedly served as the head of the prostitution ring and was in charge of the gang's finances and finding wealthy customers for the floating sex parties.

Ataturks-yacht-raided-for-prostitution-2010-09-29_l Among those rounded up in the ship raid on suspicions of having sex with minors was another Kazakh citizen, identified as P.S. by Today's Zaman. He allegedly worked as a consultant to Kazakhstan's prime minister. 

Meanwhile, the ship itself has been seized by the Turkish government. It had been rented out by the Turkish finance ministry to Turkish businessman Kahraman Sadikoglu on a long-term lease spanning 49 years back in 1989.

According to the Turkish daily Haberturk, Sadıkoglu had paid $60 million to the finance ministry for the rights to operate the ship. To help cover high operating costs amounting to millions of dollars, he started renting out the Savarona to well-off tourists for between $30,000 and $40,000 per day.

The finance ministry for its part is reportedly trying to cancel its lease on the ship after the sex scandal surfaced.

Lavish sex parties with minors staged onboard Ataturk's Savarona may be viewed by many Turks as a grave insult to the memory of the founding father of modern Turkey, who used the yacht to receive high-level guests during the last year of his life.

"I have no more words to describe the desecraters of Kemal Ataturk and his legacy... other than a very public humiliating and the most severe sentence possible for their act of treason against the state," read a comment by H. Kemal on the website of Hurriyet newspaper. 

Another commenter on the site, Sylvia, joined in the chorus.

"Punishment cannot be harsh enough, and these men should be named in public," read the commentary.

Others were simply stunned by the unprecedented scandal.

"On Ataturk's boat for crying out loud?," wrote another contributor.

On Thursday, the Turkish Culture Ministry announced that it will transform the Savarona into a museum, according to media reports. The ship, with its 17 luxury suites was built in 1931, for the daughter of Brooklyn Bridge chief engineer John Roebling. A few years later, it was sold to Turkey.

-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Top photo: Police detain suspects during a raid on the Savarona earlier this week as part of a probe into an alleged prostitution ring operating onboard the luxury yacht. Credit: Today's Zaman

Bottom photo: The MV Savarona is one of the world's largest yachts. Credit: Hurriyet

Comments () | Archives (5)

I guess a public beheading would be appropriate sentence for these predatory fools.

@sam ; Sir,im from Turkey,i was just curious about news of Turkey and searching in latime and i saw this one, but i should say that the thing you told about turkey being turkey for not sentencing them for underage girls used is TOTALLY not true. Let me give you an example;
If you kill a man in turkey, you are sentenced in some cases for life,but if its the first time,its probably 7-8 years
If you make underage person have sex, you have absolute 15 years,and at least 10 additional years for abusing,taking their freedom away and things like that,im not a lawyer,i dont know law terms but i know for sure that they will get that sentence.I wanna add one more thing, if someone goes to prison in Turkey for murder,hes okay, but for things like this situation; you dont even wanna hear about it.

Wait just one minute!! I had to do a double-take when I read this headline... I thought they were reporting on the latest cruise taken by the leading members of the Democratic National Committee.

What a disgrace. I'm so sorry there are such a thing to happen. The museum will bring to life the great legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

the item above does not explain what hapened when the boat was boarded/stormed did any-body resist and what force if any was used,or may-be, we wont hear about that yet.
at the price per day it would be very easy to cover a years costs in two month,so some one is earning a huge amount of money from these young girls who would have had little choice but to do as they were told.
prostitution is not a dirty word, it is for the women that WANT to do it a job,and they want health care they want to pay taxes,just like any other worker,but under age girls will always be used in this manner,and it is nothing less than a sex crime and should carry the full weight of the law,and turkey being turkey now with the spot light on them will no doubt carry out the harshest of sentences not because young girls were used but because the boat was once owned by m.k. ataturk,i have not read one report yet that speaks of any outrage because under age girls were involved, but plenty about its previous owner. life is cheap to the people with the money in their pockets,even more so when a boat gets more coverage than the forced sex workers. thank you.


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