Why were drugs found in the ambulance?
Date: December 19, 2023.
The Balıkesir Provincial Security Directorate received a tip about a large quantity of drugs being transported into the city.
Even more shocking was the method of transportation: the drugs were being carried in an ambulance. The vehicle was stopped, a narcotics detection dog was brought in, and the tip proved accurate.
Inside the ambulance, which bore the logo of the private company "SAS Ambulance," officers found 9 kilograms and 14 grams of skunk, an unlicensed gun, and magazines.
How could an ambulance be involved in such a crime? To find an answer, I called Barış Güdük, the general manager of SAS Ambulance, and here's what he had to say:
"The owner of that vehicle was the person arrested at the scene. Yes, those inside were our insured employees, and the vehicle was licensed to us.
We have a system to track our ambulances 24/7. However, on that day, the vehicle's tracking system had been dismantled. The investigating prosecutor asked if "our company was involved in this incident", and the answer was 'No.'"
SAS Ambulance's management explained the presence of drugs in an ambulance licensed to them and used by their insured personnel. So, what happened next? I continued to listen to General Manager Güdük:
"After the Balıkesir incident, our company was shut down. We exercised our legal right to object, and eventually, our company was reopened. Consider this: neither the prosecutor nor the law enforcement has taken our statement until today. My company is being slandered, yet no one has called me for a statement. We have terminated those employees for misconduct and filed a complaint against them with the prosecutor's office. We now want to confiscate that ambulance and donate it to a village in the East."
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
In the last Backyard, I raised the issue of some private ambulances being used for criminal activities. I wrote about the lack of sufficient inspection of company ambulances, especially in Istanbul.
I learned from sources at the Ministry of Health that, following the report, the Istanbul Provincial Health Directorate held an urgent meeting. The meeting, attended by some private ambulance companies and security directors, discussed increasing inspections and changing regulations.
Given that, let me share notes I've collected from industry representatives on the regulation that hasn't changed in 18 years:
1- Ambulance drivers should be health personnel with diplomas from relevant schools' first aid and emergency departments.
2- Individuals without a tax plate should be prohibited from buying or selling ambulances.
3- Owners of ambulance companies should be required to have a health background.
4- If an unlicensed ambulance is caught by the Security Directorate, that vehicle should be banned from traffic.
5- Patient transport ambulances should be canceled, and licenses should be issued for a single type of ambulance (emergency ambulance).
6- Especially in Istanbul, there should be a licensing limit for ambulances, similar to hospitals. Not everyone should be able to apply for an ambulance license at any time. The lack of a limit does not deter companies from shutting down because a new company can be opened immediately afterward.
An ambulance means life. The pollution happening everywhere in the country is also affecting our lives. I will continue to follow up on those who try to harm our lives.
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