Single Male robberies continue in Istanbul. I received this account in February 2014. The traveler has given me permission to post his story now that he has left Turkey.
“Great site by the way, unfortunately I didn’t get to read it before my recent visit to Istanbul where I fell foul to the Lets Have a Drink Scam to the tune of 2150 TRY.
Heres my account —
“I was overnighting in Istanbul in this month before my bus to Cannakakke the next day.
“I had spent the day out sightseeing and returned to my hotel about 9 plus pm. I was walking back to the hotel near the Sultanmetmat tram station when a guy approached me and said he was from Ankara. I was skeptical but he showed me a hotel card and said he was on business from Ankara and was on his last night, have a drink nearby etc etc.
“As it turned out the bar was a ‘short’ taxi ride away we spent approx. 20mins in a taxi and pulled up at a restaurant/club which I now know to be Civani Café and Restaurant in Zeytinburu near Ataturk Airport. (tel +90 212 416 73 39) http://civanirestaurantbar.com/.
What happened in the beginning was as per the other stories in your website, so I won’t elaborate on that.
“I was wondering when I could leave and finally at about 12midnight, I said I wanted to leave, then they gave me the bill of 4300 Liras and my “friend” said we had to split the bill, hence paying half. He then supposedly went to the ATM to get the $$.
“They also showed a menu with the corresponding prices etc. I said my credit card were maxed out etc and they kept insisting that I pay etc and put both my cards through the machine. I didn’t receive any credit card slips either, i also had some foreign currency that i offered to get out of the situation but they were not interested. Once, it was confirmed that was all they could get out of me, they let me go in a taxi, but the ‘friend’ stayed behind.
“Panicked I didn’t know what to do so I called my card issuers and told them the story. I also hoped that this would stop any suspicious transaction approval.
“I next talked to a turkish person I know and he advised that I inform the Tourist Police first. They listened and asked me which restaurant, when i told the name. They nodded and said it was not the first time, however, they would log it in and sent me in a taxi to the Zeytinburu police department alone.
“Take note, the tourist police is versed in english but the local police isn’t. After much gesturing and explanation again, and the name of the restaurant mentioned, they nodded their head and asked me if I would like to file a report or just get the $$ back. I decided to get my money back and told them so, they then discussed internally and sent 2 policemen with me in a police van to the restaurant.
It was obvious that they know each other and the resturant owner did not want also any problems with the police and returned me the money, although not happy and still behaving in a hooligan manner, but the police told me not to worry.
“In any case, i wanted the credit card slips back, but after long discussions, they paid me back the whole amount in cash but they would cash in the credit card slips. In order to be clear, I paid 400 TRY for the drinks I had consumed and entertainment, although they were clearly still trying to get more money out of me.
“The credit card companies are in this case, quite hopeless as they cannot assist in any way besides cancelling the cards, but it would still be necessary to inform them to block the cards.
“Additionally, Always take note of the place, either by taking a name card from the counter or but asking the taxi driver to write down the address/name of restaurant.
“Once that is done, it would be possible to get the police involved. However, all these should be done on the night itself to have a higher chance of recovering the money. Once they get the $$ from the bank, they can ignore you.
You would also be required to have the balls to go to the police and it may seem they are not so helpful, however, once you show your determination to recover the situation, they would definitely help you out. Failing which, the tourist police said it would also be possible to involve your country’s consulate.
[Note from TB: Your country’s consulate can do little except advise you onlegal procedures. Its officers have no legal authority under Turkish law.]
“Hope this would help to highlight this restaurant as it seems there have already been a few cases concerning this restaurant.
“However, in case you would like to post it. Kindly post it after end of feb when I am leaving Turkey for good.”