Illicit Trade Turkey Spotlight Analysis: Hasan Alsancak

Illicit Trade Turkey Spotlight Analysis

To Transparency International Turkey and Oxford Economics Combating Illicit Trade Country Spotlight: Turkey report, Turkey, is the second country after Ukraine in illicit trade in Europe.  To the report, 14% of the cigarette and tobacco products, 13% of alcoholic drinks, 17% of clothing and accessories, and 14% of medicines and pharmaceuticals in Turkey are through illicit trade. In the last three years, illicit trade increased to 7% from cigarettes and tobacco, 8% from alcoholic drinks, 10% from films & clothing, and 7% from medicines in Turkey.  The high tax policy on cigarettes and alcohol of the Turkish government was shown as the main reason for illegal trade in the country by the agency.  


The illicit trade study -financed by PMI Impact– was conducted to support projects dedicated to fighting illegal trade and related crimes.  The survey covers five product categories:

  • Cigarettes and tobacco
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Films, music, and video games
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Medicines and pharmaceutical products


The research presents an unprecedented amount of survey evidence, analyzing the motivations and actions of those involved in illicit trade today, investigating:

  • What specific issues compel consumers to buy goods illicitly, and how those motivations differ by product category, country, and other demographic parameters
  • How policy-makers and law enforcement officers prioritize activities to thwart illicit trade, and how those activities align with consumer motivation
  • Where the gaps are between consumer motivations and the actions of businesses, policy-makers, and law enforcers
  • Best Practices and lessons learned from Executives in combatting illicit trade


Combating illicit trade stakeholders in Turkey, “executives, policy-makers, and law enforcement” estimate that illegal trade has risen rapidly across all product types, at 8% compared with the European average of 2%. Films have the most significant divergence from the European average (10% vs. just 2%) and the highest level of illicit trade, at 18%.


Turkish consumers report vastly higher rates of total illicit purchases than the European average (58% vs. 38%). This trend holds across the board, with the most significant difference in clothing, where 66% of purchases are considered illicit compared with 45% for Europe overall.


Turkey has more Activists* and Bargain Hunters than the European average (22% vs. 14% and 17% vs. 14%). There are fewer Critics and Opportunists (28% vs. 32% and 33% vs. 40%). Clarifying goods are legitimate would be the best way to reduce illicit trade for Opportunists, Bargain Hunters, and Activists. Critics say that raising fines and penalties would be the most effective strategy.


Turkish executives plan to focus on their supply chain over the next three years by increasing tracking, monitoring, and reporting (47%) and contractual controls (45%). 


Policy officials will work on a wide range of strategies, including raising awareness through consumer campaigns (65%) and changing penalties for consumers (56%). 


Law enforcement has previously focused on collecting information but chose different initiatives for the next three years, including data analytics to target enforcement (66%), a priority for only 48% across the rest of Europe, and collaborating with international organizations on joint initiatives.


Please visit the Brand Protection and Anti-illicit Cigarette Trade pages of Prosecure™ to see our capabilities. 

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