14 Ocak 2011 Cuma

The Unenlightened Tourist Pays Dearly

(Haberturk Newspaper, 13 January 2011)

Tourists who have come to Istanbul and been made to pay
exorbitant charges are writing about their experiences on the
internet and sending complaints to Turkish ambassadors in their
home countries. Most of the establishments that conduct these
fraudulent practices are located in Beyoğlu, Sultanahmet and
Şişli, but once caught they pay only a small fine and resume their

One French tourist wrote to the Turkish Ambassador in Paris
that 'I've never felt more violated in my life!'  Japanese tourist
Kei Hanzava and two friends are among those who complained
to police, relating that some people whom they met brought them
to a bar. Afterwards they were presented with a bill for 4,000
Turkish Lira and threatened. They only saved themselves from
a beating by withdrawing 1,800 Turkish Lira with their credit
cards. Following the incident, the Japanese searched the internet
for similar stories and found that many other Japanese tourists
had had like experiences.

In 2005 travel writer Nicholas Hall of The Guardian newspaper
noted that he had been directed to the bar My Way in Yenikapı
by a fellow named Ali whom he had met in Sultanahmet. After
drinking one beer Hall was charged 350 Turkish Lira and threatened
if he didn't agree to pay.

The luring system works this way: someone will ask a tourist for a
light or some sımılar pretext to chat and then try to win the tourist's
trust. Then the tourists are brought to a bar where women join
their table with or without the tourist's request. Drinks, food and
flowers follow, also without the tourist's concurrence, and ultimately
an extravagant bill.

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