So the scammers/robbers are still at work on İstiklal Caddesi, Beyoğlu, Istanbul. This story, reported in April 2016, is hopeful in that the victim went to the police afterwards and worked to get some of his stolen money back, with qualified success.
sigh. so it’s 4am in istanbul as i’ve just gotten back to my room and stumbled upon your website. man all this stuff jives pretty well with what happened to me tonight.
single male, staying off istiklal right by the tunel stop. went out for a chicken doner to go, heading back to my room to do some work in the evening. some guys having a smoke outside my building door – i decide not to disturb them and stroll up my street a bit further sin i haven’t explored going up this new direction yet, it’s just my 3rd day here. although i am not an inexperienced traveler and i have certainly heard of guys being screwed with crazy bills in bars…
i’m walking up, and one dude chats me up. where are you from? ah, america. i studied some there for a bit in dc. etc etc. like your site mentions some claim to be working in dubai – this guy and his buddy claimed to have worked for turkish airlines but now are working for qatar airlines in doha. 6 months on then 2 weeks back here. 2 weeks to cut loose back here now. join them for a drink? ah they are just going to the hotel area up by taksim, more bars, clubs, restaurants, etc. mentioned going to some bar at a hilton if i recall correctly. we need to take a taxi. ah it’s just up to taksim, no big deal. i figure hey, should be fun. i go with. we have a nice chat on the way there. they pay for the taxi and say no no i shouldn’t pay.
the hilton thing is gone in my mind; we get to wherever and walk down some stairs, it’s some turkish nightclub. music is playing, people are there at tables, small dance floor with no one dancing. we sit at a table and chat. order some drinks. maybe 5? 10? minutes later, some girls come over… 3 of them, 1 for each of us. they are ukranian. the one i sit with says she is a student here on break. she seems nice and sweet and is quite pretty. i’m drinking beers at a regular pace. she is drinking something and when she is done she asks to order another and i say sure why not. this continues through the night; she occasionally goads me onto the dance floor, not really my thing. but she’s pretty so i go.
at some point one of the guys says hey let’s check the bill, and gets it.. says hey let’s come chat somewhere it’s less loud. we go out by the bathrooms and the bill is something stupid. i forgot the number written down but i remember hearing 2750 later, and that was not to be split 3 ways – but my share of it. i do start protesting it. i’m not drunk. but i’m also not here with friends. and i am pissed and alarm, which is blocking the smart part of my brain from fully working. parts were firing and parts were not.
they claimed they could not take credit. which i suspect is only because it would be easy for me to dispute. some kind of bouncer guy is there, the other guy says he doesn’t have enough cash and must do credit. at the time i’m thinking this guy is kind of in the same boat as me, in retrospect it seems more likely that was bullshit and he was trying to lead me in on going to the atm. he and i both go with the bouncer, it’s close by. there are 2 atms next to eachother. i’m not sure how much/if any the other guy actually took out. the bouncer is behind me and the atm only reads in turkish. bouncer probably saw my pin. i couldn’t read the turkish and he starts punching things in for me after the pin. tries to take out 2000, thankfully it failed. my brain is still reeling. i take out 800 next. we attempt to take out another 1000 after that, which fails – over my daily limit.
i protest this is bullshit outside. he tries to intimidate me but i stand up to it. we go inside – my coat is still there – now 2 guys are waiting on either sides of the stairs. i just ignore and pass through them. fuck you i’m american i’m not taking this shit. i protest some more. i say here is 800 lira and that’s it. he knows i have something in my wallet, i haven’t ever shown what’s in it, demands more. i stupidly give 200 more. and i say i’m done. go in, ignore the girls, grab my coat, and head out. short discussion with other guy when i say this is bullshit and not worth it – he says hey their bad he didn’t know i “had no money” and they only get to cut loose once every 6 months. the girls are prostitutes they will take home (for more money.) up until this point was also offering to have me still come back and hang and only have a drink if i wanted. i got in the cab and left.
then my brain started firing again. unfortunately the cabbie by the time i requested could not tell me the name of the place we were at or where he picked me up on google maps – he did not speak much english. this was 10 minutes of my failure to communicate or get any good information as he dropped me off near my place.
The traveler eventually goes to the police in Istanbul and gets some of his money back. There’s lots more to this story.