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I travelled from Philippines to UK transit in Istanbul. I bought some diamonds in Philippines properly declared with customs to bring out and will pay VAT in UK.

Q: Do I need to declare in Istanbul while transiting?

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    If you can remain in the transit area at the airport you won't pass through customs so there's no need to declare anything. If you have to recheck bags or pass customs for any other reason you might be well advised to declare the diamonds and obtain a carnet for temporary import, if this facility is available. You should investigate this before departure. – user90371 Jun 22 at 5:55
  • Keep the proper documentation because even in transist zone in istanbul you have to go through security check. I have seen some verbel argumentions in instanbul between passengers and security guards that they confiscated thier stuff due to improper documents. – N Randhawa Jun 22 at 8:02
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If you remain in the transit area:

  • You are checked in for both flights

  • You don’t need to re-check your luggage

you won’t pass customs so you don’t need to declare it in Istanbul.

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Rule of thumb, declarations are made to customs, after passport control.

If you're changing airports in Istanbul, ie from IST/LTFM to SAW/LTFJ, you'll be going though customs. Then you will need to declare.

If you're remaining in the same airport transit area, you won't need to declare.

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