Every evening, Ahmet Akamak or one of his extended family boards a flight to Istanbul, keeping a careful grip on a bag loaded with solid gold.
The former banker runs a network of shops in Turkey’s south-eastern city of Diyarbakir, buying second-hand jewellery from people in need of ready cash, and selling it as scrap to the dealers clustered in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. His trade has boomed in recent years, as high gold prices turned Turkey – the world’s fourth biggest market for gold jewellery – into a net exporter of the metal.
“We need at least 2 kg a day to be worth the journey. A couple of months ago, we were taking 20kg every day,” Akamak says, as a man enters the shop to sell a worn gold ring for 298TL ($198).