The most terrible thing that can happen to you in a foreign country is an emergency. It can be even more terrifying in a country where you don’t know the language. If you experience such a situation in Istanbul, the first thing to remember is that the people here are really helpful and well-intentioned. But goodwill can sometimes bring greater troubles:
The most common type of theft you’ll encounter in Istanbul is pickpocketing. The Grand Bazaar and Eminönü are fascinating but also a treasure for pickpockets. Don’t take big bags with you if you are going to crowded places. If you have a backpack, wear it to the front. You should have a copy of valuable documents, such as passports, and leave the originals in your hotel room or where you are staying. In this way, you can protect against theft. If you need to take cash with you, it’s safest to put it in a zippered inner pocket. If you do fall victim to theft you should go to the nearest police station. However, as is common across the whole world, it’s very difficult for the police to catch pickpockets. Pickpockets are more likely to be caught by the Turkish people!
Related Post: How to Avoid Tourist Scams in Istanbul: Tips & Advices
2. Traffic accident
In Istanbul, everyone rushes to an accident site to help with traffic accidents with injuries. Some people try to lift the wounded but this is not recommended. If there are injured people at the accident site, you should call an ambulance. If you get injured you can call a private hospital ambulance for this. But you’ll need to make sure you talk to your insurance company before coming to Istanbul to find out which hospitals they have a contract with. If you need to go to a public hospital, call 112 for public ambulances. Services are free of charge in public hospitals. In addition, the Ministry of Health has a 24/7 support centre for foreigners in Turkey. The International Patient Support Unit is available in 6 languages. For this, you can call free on 184, 112 or 444 47 28.
3. Getting Lost
If you’re lost in Istanbul and you don’t have a navigation application, just go to a shop and ask for directions. If you’re lost at night, you can go to the nearest police station for help. If you lose any of your belongings, you have a good chance of finding them if you can remember where you lost them. If you lost them on public transport, such as ferries or buses, you can contact the “Beyaz Masa (White Table)” to find your belongings. Beyaz Masa is a service offered by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Call 153 for the Beyaz Masa. You can also call 444 15 23 for items left behind in a taxi.
Everyone in Istanbul is very friendly. But there are some people who abuse this friendly nature. It’s best to avoid people who are trying to be over friendly. Be wary of people who suddenly try to engage in conversation with you on the street. When you don’t talk to them, they will give up. However, if you’re sitting alone eating and drinking, you’ll come across people who want to talk to you and introduce you to their friends. People like this are usually scammers. First of all, they want to chat about business. They tell you about their (imaginary) works. Then they say, “My friend has a very nice place, let’s go there and continue drinking.” They’ll take you to a really nice place, but at the end of the day you’ll be left alone with a heavy bill at the table. You can kindly say hello to such people, but don’t enter into conversation with them. Although hospitable, someone with good intentions will not try to take you to another place.