An analysis of the illegal trade of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and tobacco, fuel and mobile phones in Turkey

Executive Summary

About the project:

The objective of our project is to enhance our understanding of the demand and supply side factors shaping the illegal trade of the following goods:

– smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes; unregistered tobacco trade

– smuggled and counterfeit alcohol products

– smuggled fuel and derivatives; illegally processed crude oil

– smuggled mobile phones

Our project started at 1 March 2019 and lasted 24 months. The present report and the website dedicated to the project,, was funded by PMI IMPACT, a grant award initiative of Philip Morris International (“PMI”). In the performance of its research, Betam maintained full independence from PMI. The views and opinions expressed in this document are those of Betam and do not necessarily reflect the views of PMI. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in this report and the project website lies entirely with Betam. Neither PMI, nor any of its affiliates, nor person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained herein.

To fulfill the above objectives, we designed a field survey with consumers in 12 NUTS 1 regions of Turkey. The survey aims to understand the motivation behind demand for illegal products. More specifically, we compared consumers not preferring illegally traded goods and consumers consciously preferring these goods. The field survey was conducted between December 2, 2019 and 11 March 2020. In total, 4,924 survey interviews were completed in the 12 NUTS 1 regions

We also realized in-depth interviews with experts and various stakeholders to understand the spatial and organizational structure of supply in the illegal trade: how smuggled and counterfeit goods reach the “market”, how and where they are sold and finally what types of networks are used for the distribution of these illegal goods. In-depth interviews with business associations, law enforcement officers, lawyers, retailers, etc. allowed us to analyze production, marketing and the organization of illegal trade networks. The in-depth interviews started on 14 November 2019 and were completed on 23 February 2020. Overall, 228 interviews were conducted in 22 provinces distributed across 12 NUTS 1 regions.

We created an interactive website to share a rich set of information obtained during our project. The first set of information comes from freely available reports of Customs Enforcement and Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Department (KOM) of national police. We visualized seized amounts of smuggled and counterfeit goods for each product under consideration by 12 NUTS 1 regions in Turkey. The second set of information comes from 4924 surveys with consumers. We compare consumers of legal and illegal products in each NUTS 1 region of Turkey and visualize differences between them in terms of education, gender, income, household size, age, and gender composition on a Turkish map. The third set of information comes from 228 in-depth interviews with consumers and stakeholders/experts/officials. We visualize findings on factors shaping the supply and demand of illegal trade in each NUTS 1 region in a user-friendly way.

By combining quantitative findings of the field survey with qualitative findings obtained from the in-depth interviews with consumers, experts, and various stakeholders we derived policy recommendations about public policies, legislative regulations and awareness raising. Some lessons learned and policy recommendations can be summarized as follows.

pdf. An analysis of the illegal trade of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and tobacco, fuel and mobile phones in Turkey

The project website: