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A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

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Lausanne...
posts: 30
A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

Hello,

I am back from my first and probably last trip to Istanbul. While I found the city very nice, a very bad experience deeply perturbated the global impression I got of it. Yesterday evening I was walking alone (I am a solo traveller) , around 10 pm. I dont remember the street name, I did not notice it but it was close to the Yerebatan Sarnic. A man came close to me from behind and asked for the time. After I answered, I could not get rid of him. He glued to me, I tried to leave but then I just realised he could be dangerous and that try to flee could have been even worse. Indeed, he threw a small bag of drug towards me and after I refused (already in panic) he forced me to the nearest ATM and to withdraw all the money I could: 1400 TL. Finally, he let me alone and I could run to my hotel where I exposed what had occured (also to arrange my transport to the airport as I had no money left and no possibility to further withdraw!!!). The receptionist offered me a free transport to the airport this morning but nothing else... no assistance... no suggestions...

I have been travelling alone since I was 18 and never something like that occured to me. Generally, I felt unconfortable in the city because the presence of scams is evident and the pressure from street vendors and restaurants touts. This last episode was awful. I spent 20 minutes in panic. How to conclude? Perhaps, it is true that Istanbul is a potentially dangerous city for solo male travelers and it is unlikely that I will go again.

Istanbul
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
posts: 25,829
reviews: 45
1. Re: A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

Stefano, I am really sorry that something like this happened to you. You should have immediately gone to the Tourist Police right across Basilica Cistern entrance. You should immediately send the same e-mail and register your complaint at the following addresses : "tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k54…" (post No. 12). I wish you would have gone to the nearest store and ask for help. He would not have followed you then.

I wish you better luck in your future travels,

enigma...

Istanbul, Turkey
posts: 14,181
reviews: 1
2. Re: A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

This is bizarre.At that hour the streets are not deserted,how did he force you?Did he have a gun or a knife?Why didn't you just say "no money,money at hotel"?These are just opportunist street rubbish,if you yelled at him loud enough he'd have run.

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
posts: 12,263
reviews: 200
3. Re: A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

Stefano, That is absolutely a terrible event, but rather odd as well. I am unclear how you were forced to withdraw money from an ATM. Did this person threaten you with a weapon? I would have shouted loudly and walked into the nearest store, restaurant or hotel.

In what hotel did you stay? I am aghast that they did not call the police for you or at least make that suggestion.

Where there are tourists there will always be criminals, but this unusual event demands some attention. Like Sari I really need to understand how you were "forced" to your ATM, and I am wondering why you did not contact the police.

Cape Town Central...
posts: 7
4. Re: A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

how did you know that it was a bag of drugs that he threw towards you?

me thinks that the man protests too loudly as Shakespeare says

Lausanne...
posts: 30
5. Re: A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

To the question: "how did he force you?" my answer is: he shouted at me, he cursed and terrorized me. I am happy that I did not discover if he had a knife or worse. Nobody was in the street and, while at the ATM, a couple of passers-by just went on. Honestly, after what occured I only ran away. I know that I should have called the police but after being threatened and put under pressure for 20 minutes I was not so lucid to reason the "good" thing to do and anyway at my hotel the receptionist did not do anything.

London, United...
posts: 1,285
reviews: 53
6. Re: A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

Which hotel was you staying at Stefano N?

Istanbul, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
posts: 3,814
7. Re: A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

Very weird incident! I am shocked to read that you withdrew all your money just because some one yelled at you to do so. Anyway, it is so unfortunate that you had such a bad experience in the city. Hope you'll come back to discover its true culture which is shaped with genuine and generous hospitality of its people.

Borus

Bodrum
Destination Expert
for Bodrum City
posts: 1,142
reviews: 39
8. Re: A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

Stefano - would you have acted differently to such a situation which took place in Lausanne, and if so, what measures would you have taken that were different?

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
posts: 12,263
reviews: 200
9. Re: A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

Stefano, Do I understand that this event happened near Sarnic at 10pm and you were the only person on the street? Were there no hotels, restaurants or shops nearby where you could have retreated?

I would never advise anyone to refuse to give money under mortal threat, but I think, for those reading this thread and concerned about similar events, there are some alternatives.

I would immediately get off of a street that was deserted at night. If someone "glued" himself to me I would go into a business or, if I had managed to put myself in such an empty location I would have moved aggressively and I would have made lots of noise.

I cannot imagine withdrawing money from my ATM because someone yelled at me. I am curious about how you knew he was swearing at you. Did the two of you share a mutual language? How did you determine that you needed to walk several blocks to the ATMs and give him money? Who determined how much money you needed to give?

People need to decide how they will behave under a variety of circumstances before they are confronted with those events. If you have a plan of action you are less likely to be easily intimidated.

If these types of encounters are exceptionally frightening to you it is wise not to be out after the streets are empty.

I am sorry, but I cannot imagine ever giving anyone money because the person yelled at me, and I still cannot quite understand exactly how this happened to you.

Ultimately you express the belief that you were already afraid because of the sales techniques of carpet salesmen and restaurant touts. I think if you are this anxious you should not be out alone at night.

I hope you never have another unfortunate experience in your future travels, but you need to be aware that aggressive salesmen are not confined to Turkey. You might want to do some research to determine if you will feel uncomfortable in the culture of the country you plan to visit.

Istanbul, Turkey
posts: 14,181
reviews: 1
10. Re: A very bad end of my trip: 600 euros extorsion!

Sorry but I too am having a really hard job with this.As I said before this is quite bizarre.There are restaurants,shops and hotels on virtually every street small or large in Sultanahmet where you could have sought help.Even at 22.00 places are open and have customers.

But okay let's say it was quiet and this man shouts at you and you are intimidated by him...why not not simply say no money!....and shout back at him,if he'd had had any type of weapon he would almost certainly have shown it straight away to save the several minutes of shouting at you(which could have attracted attention)...ATM's are understandably not tucked away in quiet little streets,they are located in prominent positions,there would definately have been people around,a lot of peole,you said there were people around.

At this point I would have hollered as loud as I could to attract help.You say no one helped?Well if you were just walking how would anyone know you were in distress?

You say the hotel did nothing?After all this upon return to my hotel I would have banged on the reception desk and basically made a damned nuisance of myself until they DID call the police!For 600€ I most certainly would!

The city is covered in camera's both the police MOBESE and those of private businesses,so miscreants and their deeds can often be traced very quickly.I know it was your last evening yet I would have least of insisted the police were called,to give a statement if nothing else.

Your profile does not give your sex or age group but my impression from your posts is that you are youngish and male.I am a late middle aged woman and I can tell you this little punk would not have got a cent from me not without pointing a gun at me or holding a knife to my throat.

I'm now intrigued to know what would happen if I go out tonight,chuck a Migros carrier bag at someone and shout at them...how much money can I earn??

I don't mean to be flippant but whichever way I look at this I cannot get 2 and 2 to add up to 4 here.