Despite the rocky relationship between the two countries of late, Turkey is cooperating with Israel in a high-profile case involving trafficking in women for prostitution.
Turkey last week assented to a request from Jerusalem to extradite Guy Hassid. Hassid allegedly ran a strip club in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, using it as a front through which he ran one of the largest women trafficking businesses in the world, involving more than 10,000 victims.
He was flown to Israel on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday was remanded in custody for 10 days, despite his attorney’s request that he be released to house arrest.
“The law in Israel allows us to arrest offenders who trafficked in women and employed them as prostitutes even if they acted outside Israel’s borders,” a senior police officer in Tel Aviv said.
Despite its differences with Israel, Turkish police agreed to help after they were briefed on the gist of the case, since they “realized what it was about and the extent of the man’s criminal actions,” the officer was quoted by Maariv as saying. “They cooperated with us, and this week the extradition [process] was completed.”
Hassid, a 35-year-old native of the coastal city of Ashkelon, hid in Cyprus for three years before he was arrested by Turkish police over a year ago, at the request of Israel. The investigation was also aided by law enforcement authorities in Russia and the Ukraine.
Hassid’s former partner Rami Saban, dubbed “Israel’s biggest pimp,” was sentenced to 18 years by an Israeli court in May 2012. Russian authorities believe he and Hassid were in charge of one of the largest human trafficking rings in Europe and possibly the world.
“They were exclusively responsible for smuggling women to Israel over the Egyptian border during the 1990s and early ’00s,” Superintendent Edi Plinner of the Tel Aviv Police told Maariv.
Relations between Jerusalem and Ankara have been strained since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, during which Israeli special forces boarded a boat that attempted to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish nationals were killed during the fighting on board the ship.