Turkey .. a black market for the sale of mobile phones, sought after by Syrians and avoided by others

The telephone market in Turkey includes the term “Syrian cell phone,” which of course does not refer to devices made in Syria, but rather to a “black market” of smuggled phones entering Turkey irregularly.

These devices are sold in both Syrian and Turkish stores, due to the price difference between them and the regularly imported phones.

The mobile phone market in Turkey mainly includes smart devices from most international brands such as “iPhone” and “Samsung”, which are due to high taxes at a higher price than the countries of the region, while its factories manufacture some types of mobile phones, such as “Vestel ”, And General Mobile.

Enab Baladi conducted a field survey that included Syrians who owned regular and smuggled cell phones, and the owner of a cell phone shop familiar with the cell phone market in Turkey, to find out the reasons for Syrians ‘discrimination and choice of’ a phone, the disadvantages. of “Syrian cell phones” and the danger of being sold by store owners.

From one laboratory the difference is $ 100

Mahmoud Mahdi (31 years old) chose to buy a “Syrian cell phone” two years ago after knowing the price difference between the same phone and its counterpart from the Turkish market, as his phone was 800 Turkish liras cheaper than the “ordinary phone.” and he is currently satisfied with the performance of his phone, He is not thinking of replacing him, according to what he told Enab Baladi.

Ahmed Hakim, 28, recently bought his cellphone, which he ordered from a local online shopping site where only phones that are regularly imported to Turkey are sold.

When asked about the reason, despite the availability of the same model of his phone on the black market, he replied: “I do not want a headache,” according to his description of the various problems he may experience when he has a “Syrian cell phone.”

Among these problems is that he has to install his device on the Turkish network several times a year, through an unofficial mobile repair shop, and the possibility of losing his data stored on the phone when performing the installation process, according to what he said to Enab. Baladi.

Hussein Bahri (42 years old), explained to Enab Baladi that due to his average financial situation, he decided to buy a cell phone from the black market, after researching the features that this phone can contain with the amount he allocated have a new phone, and compare it to the specifications that a phone from the market may have. Turkish price is close to the value of the amount awarded.

Enab Baladi interviewed Bashar Qattan (30 years old), the owner of a mobile phone shop familiar with the mobile phone market in Turkey after working in the field for more than six years. He explained that the reason why Syrians called “Syrian Mobile” on phones was on the black market, they thought it was They were being smuggled from Syria to Turkey, while phones were also being smuggled from Iraq and the UAE.

Bashar explained that despite the systematic production of smuggled and sometimes imported cell phones from the same factory and matching the software and physical specifications, the price difference for modern cell phones with good specifications reaches $ 100.

The main difference between cell phones in the Turkish market and phones on the black market, is that the latter is not registered on the Turkish telecommunications network and does not work on it, but Turkish laws allow cell phones (from the black market) to work. on the Turkish network for up to four months for the first time The phone works in the country.

Problems and solutions for “Syrian Mobile”

Most of the Syrians who have bought “Syrian cell phones”, especially those with low-cost phones, resort to informally registering their phones on the Turkish network, through a set of programs and tools that technicians work in mobile shops, but it is’ a temporary registration, as the General Directorate Telecom to delete all temporary registrations at the beginning of each year.

According to Bashar, the owner of the mobile phone shop, the cost of temporary registration on the Turkish network is low (ranging from 50 to 250 Turkish liras, depending on the type of mobile phone), compared to the official registration cost.

One of the problems in the “Syrian phone” is that the technician has to install certain programs on the phone that affect it, in terms of increasing battery consumption, disrupting certain features, or influencing the phone’s speed, and the registration process is also required Temporarily for some phones it will erase all data stored within the device during the process.

One of the main problems in “black market” phones is the lack of a phone warranty when purchased, unlike the phone in the Turkish market, which includes a two-year warranty.

And recently, according to Bashar, owners of “Samsung” phones that are subject to the temporary registration process have complained about the appearance of alerts on the mobile phone of banking applications, or applications of cryptocurrency trading platforms, declaring that the application authority does not guarantee. the occurrence of any security breach of the data stored on the phone, which led to owners panic.

Owners of mobile phones taken from the “black market”, of all kinds, can register them officially and permanently on the Turkish telecommunications network through the official Turkish government website “E-Devlet”, provided the owner of the phone has a passport that does not has not expired. with an entry stamp to Turkey that has not yet expired. Its duration exceeds one year, according to Yard Turkish Information and Communication Technology Authority.

And thereach The fee for the official registration of a “cellphone” on the Turkish telecommunications network for 2022 is 2,732 Turkish liras, compared to 2006 liras last year.

Violations for mobile phone shop owners

The access and use of smuggled mobile phones to Turkey without being officially registered on the Turkish telecommunications network causes damage and loss to the Turkish economy, so it is against Turkish laws to sell it or unofficially register it.

Store owners run the risk of selling these phones because of the profit to sell that exceeds the profit from the sale of regular imported cell phones, and because of the lack of emphasis on the part of the Turkish customs police on cell phone shop owners.

Anas (26 years old), the owner of a mobile shop whose full name was not mentioned for security reasons, told Enab Baladi when he violated the Turkish Customs Administration, after a complaint was lodged against him, because his store contained several “black market” phones, and tools used to register these phones. Unofficially on the Turkish network.

Turkish law allows a person to own only two electronic devices (a cellphone or laptop) that are not officially registered on the Turkish telecommunications network, and if there are more than two devices, the person is charged with selling unlicensed devices.

According to Anas, the customs issued a fine of 50 thousand Turkish liras, which is twice the price of the same type of cell phones in the Turkish market in his shop, in addition to the confiscation of unlicensed phones.

After a lawyer was appointed to follow up the offense case, the court issued a “mitigating verdict” to pay an immediate fine of only seven thousand and 500 pounds, provided the offense is not repeated for a period of not less than five years, otherwise he will be fined £ 42,500 and sentenced to 110 days in prison, according to Anas.

And in November 2021 Launched The Turkish Ministry of Interior has conducted an operation against cellphone smugglers in 76 provinces, in coordination with the Department of “Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime”. In the operation, 70 suspects were arrested, and 1,331 unlicensed cellphones were confiscated.

And in 2017, declare The chairman of the board of the Businessmen’s Association of Communication and Information Technology Aids “Mobisad”, Sinan Ekshi, said that the sale of illegal mobile phones has increased by 730% from one billion lire to 8.3 billion lira in the last five years .

Turkish store selling cell phones and their accessories – (Enab Baladi)

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