The crimes considered as “smuggling” are numerous under the Turkish Laws, such as trafficking cultural property however, in this article we will particularly focus on the customs violations committed by airplane passengers. All countries have some sort of customs regulations that limit goods to be brought by passengers. Turkey has also such customs regulations that everyone, who crosses the Turkish borders, must obey. Serious criminal investigations and criminal cases may arise in case of violation of those customs regulations.
Smuggled Goods Brought by Passenger
Especially at airports, passengers coming from abroad pass through the zones designated as “green line” and “red line” while passing from the duty-free area to the customs zone, sometimes as a result of group psychology, all passengers go to the green line with an involuntary orientation. However, due to the fact that the customs officers affiliated with the customs enforcement directorate are randomly or suspiciously scanned the luggage, the transactions are carried out for the crime of smuggled goods and customs smuggling because of the excess of some goods in violation of the customs legislation. In this way, when there is an item in his bag or baggage that has to be declared to the customs but that is passed through the green line without being declared, a report is taken by the officers and the passenger’s statement is taken and then the file prepared is sent to the Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor for a public prosecution.
Customs Smuggling and Smuggled Goods Criteria
Passing goods through customs without a declaration
If the passenger passes through the green line, it means “I have no goods to be declared subject to customs”. Therefore, after a passenger passes through the green line it will be too late to declare goods. In other words, saying “I did not know that these goods to be declared” or “let me declare these stuff now” would not work after passing the green line. Because, passing the customs border through the green line means that the passenger already stated I have no goıods to declare implicitly.
Commercial property of goods passed without a declaration
In order for such customs violations to be committed, the goods brought with the passenger must have commercial characteristics. In other words, they must be imported into the country for purposes such as selling or trading other than for personal use. In practice, bringing in a large number of a product is considered evidence for commercial purposes.
The import or export of the goods without declaration is prohibited
Whether the goods are for personal or commercial purposes, the crime of bringing smuggled goods occurs when a product whose import or export is prohibited is brought into the country. To put it another way it is not necessary that both the import and export of the goods are prohibited at the same time. It is sufficient to bring from abroad only the products whose import or export is prohibited.
Penalty for Customs Violations
The penalty for smuggling brought along with the passenger is up to 5 years of imprisonment, which means, it is a serious crime under the Turkish law. In case of aggravated and more serious types of this crime an arrest warrant can be issued. Therefore, it would be the best interest of the person who has been under investigation to work with an experienced lawyer whose expertise is in this area.
Limits on Some Goods
The limits for some goods that can be imported by a passenger from abroad to Turkey are as follows:
High alcohol drinks (22% and above): 1 LT
Low alcohol drinks (22% and below): 2 LT
Tea, coffee, sweets, chocolate: 1 KG
Cigars: 50 pieces
Perfume: 600 ML
Camera: 1 piece
Video camera: 1 piece
Computer or laptop: 1 pc
Cell phone: 1 pc
The above limits also cover products that are sold in duty free shops. Therefore, the goods that are purchased from duty free shops are counted in those limits. In other words, any product purchased from duty-free stores is included in these limits. In the event that these customs limits are exceeded and the situation is recorded by the customs officers, an investigation will be launched against the passenger for customs violation.
Criminal Defense Lawyer
Persons who are under investigation for customs violation, smuggling or importing illegal goods can apply to our firm to receive legal support. As an experienced law firm in the field of such customs violations and smuggling crimes, we provide professional legal support for our clients.