Customs and Duties
Turkish customs officials rarely look through tourists' luggage on arrival. You are allowed to bring in three boxes of cigarettes, 50 cigars, 250 grams of tobacco, 1 kilogram of coffee, 1 kilogram of tea, 2 liters of wine or champagne, and 1 liter of hard alcohol. (Note that these limits do change periodically; check the signs in the duty-free shop before heading up to the counter.) Items in the duty-free shops in Turkish airports, for international arrivals, are usually less expensive than they are in European airports or in-flight. Pets are allowed into the country provided that they have all the necessary documentation. Full details can be obtained from the Turkish diplomatic representative in your own country.
The export of antiquities from Turkey is expressly forbidden, and the ban is rigorously enforced. If you buy a carpet or rug that looks old, make sure to obtain certification that it is not antique. The seller will usually be able to help you. The ban on antiquities extends to historical artifacts, coins, and even pieces of masonry. There have been several recent cases where tourists, some of them children, have tried to take small pieces of stone home as souvenirs and been arrested at the airport on suspicion of trying to export parts of ancient monuments. A genuine mistake is not considered sufficient excuse. Even where the tourists have been ultimately acquitted, they have still had to spend many months either in detention or, more commonly, out on bail but denied permission to leave the country. Turkish antiquities laws apply to every piece of detritus, so don't pick up anything off the ground at archaeological sites.
Visit the Turkish Embassy website in Washington, D.C., and the websites of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Ankara for more information.
Turkish Embassy. 202/612–6729; www.washington.emb.mfa.gov.tr.