Global Counter-IED MapPolice counter-IED units

Turkish Customs Administration

Location: Headquarters in Ankara

Type: Police


The Turkish Customs Administration (TCA) enforces border security. Part of their roles is preventing illegal substances and terrorists from passing through the border, particularly explosives and other terrorism-related materials. In the past, issues have been reported such as lack of personnel, adequate equipment, intelligence and basic supplies. However, the TCA have been engaged in many efforts to improve their capabilities. The TCA has focused on efforts to improve their effectiveness, knowing that many customs officials are already stretched and with assistance have improved the ways in which monitoring and operating is carried out.

Though the TCA has been predominantly focused on narcotics, they had trained four dogs in detecting explosives and ammunition as opposed to the complete absence of such dogs before 2000.

In 1996 the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and TCA signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. This has seen them regularly meet to share best practices in regard to border security and trade facilitation. As well as collaboration and cooperation, the CBP has delivered training programs to the TCA on customs and border control.

German and UK Customs administrations have engaged in efforts to support Turkey’s improvement of its customs work, particularly in the area of risk management. Twelve workshops and 38 seminars were organised between 2012 and 2013 for Turkish customs officials. These were attended 727 customs officials, whilst 35 customs officers took the opportunity to participate in study visits or traineeships in Germany and the UK. 16 staff members attended train-the-trainer courses on customs techniques, so that they may pass this knowledge into further customs training in Turkey.

The TCA cooperates with the administrations operating in the member countries of the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) and European Union. The EU’s assistance to Turkey, such as through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA-II), has seen projects which aim to improve border and customs security and surveillance through modernization of border surveillance systems and enhanced inter-agency collaboration in line with the EU’s integrated border management policies and strategies. EU projects have allowed the TCA to purchase equipment, such as vehicles for ‘mobile customs enforcement units’ and technical control equipment used by mobile units (drugs and explosive detectors, density measurement devices, videoscopes and laptops), as well as baggage scanning systems.

This profile is part of AOAV’s investigation into counter-IED (C-IED) actors around the globe. To see the list of all C-IED actors recorded by AOAV, see here. To see those engaged in the Middle East, the Sahel, North Africa or other highly impacted countries please see here, here, here, and here respectively. This research was made possible by funding from the NATO Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE). To read the full report, ‘Addressing the threat posed by IEDs: National, Regional and Global Initiatives’, see here.