Turkey Country Drug Report 2019

Drug markets

Turkey is an important transit country between Europe and the Middle East. It also represents a large consumer market. Located on the Balkan route, it is a key transit point for illicit drugs, such as heroin transported from Afghanistan to Europe, sometimes in exchange for acetic anhydride (the main precursor in the production of heroin) or synthetic drugs. Although traditional trafficking methods by land, sea or air dominate in Turkey, an increase in the use of postal packages has been noted, in particular for new psychoactive substances.

Cannabis products, originating primarily from western Balkans countries or Morocco, are the most frequently seized drugs in Turkey. Domestic cannabis cultivation has been reported, although it is rarely trafficked outside the country.

Cocaine enters Turkey from South America, destined for the domestic market or in transit to other European countries, Azerbaijan and Iraq. The majority of large cocaine seizures take place in the international sea ports on the Mediterranean coast.

Captagon tablets (or tablets displaying a Captagon logo containing amphetamine as their active ingredient) produced in south-east Europe are smuggled through Turkey en route to countries in the Middle East. A small proportion of these Captagon tablets is destined for the domestic Turkish market.

Methamphetamine, produced in the Far East, enters Turkey through Iran or arrives directly by air. MDMA/ecstasy seized in Turkey originates from the Netherlands and Belgium and has traditionally been seized in the western parts of the country, although reports on seizures of MDMA in the eastern provinces have increased in recent years. Synthetic cannabinoids, which appeared on the Turkish drug market in 2010, originate from China, Europe and the United States. Some reports indicate possible processing and packaging activities of these substances in Turkey.

Data on the retail price and purity of some illicit substances seized are shown in the ‘Key statistics’ section.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.