Turkish anti-smuggling experts check a truck on a road near Hacipasa, Hatay. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)
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Sevda, a 22-year-old waitress, recounts how she made a small fortune running smuggled diesel from a village on Turkey's wild and dangerous border with Syria.In about two dozen interviews, Turkish authorities, smugglers and vendors along Turkey's 900-km border with Syria paint a remarkably similar picture: Oil smuggling was a booming business until about six months ago, when Turkish authorities ramped up a multilayered crackdown that has significantly disrupted the illicit trade.Turkey says it seized nearly 20 million liters of oil at the border in the first eight months of this year, about four times as much as in the same period the year before, while illicit fuel discovered on consumers has dropped considerably.Since Turkey launched its crackdown, most of it has come back and business is now only 20 percent off what it used to be.Over the last five months, police in Hatay say they have arrested 38 people involved in smuggling, and since June of last year levied over $5.7 million in fines.Illicit diesel in small quantities is still easy to find in many Turkish cities along the border, evidence smuggling cannot be completely eliminated.
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