Returning from Istanbul yesterday I thought I’d offer some advice. What a lovely city full of history and things to see and excellent food to be had !!!!!!. Before I went I did some research and happened to see warnings of a classic tourist scam with single gents as a target and I made a mental note to look out not to be caught by this.
On my first evening I was sitting at a table outside a restaurant in Sultan Ahmed area. A single English speaking guy took a seat at the table next to me and asked if he could use my lighter.
Conversation started and after some time he said that this part of town becomes awfully quiet that time of night. Having had Taksim square on my places- to-visit- list I asked if he knew where this was. He said he’ll show me around. He stayed in Turkey some years back.
I said I’ll fetch cash from my hotel and then we can go. He said a little bit of cash is always good but one should rather transact with a credit card. It’s just easier. He seemed frustrated when I returned and said our first point of call should now just please be a Change office so I can get some cash as I will not be taking my credit card. Having told me earlier how super safe place Istanbul was he now contradicting himself, saying “You tourists will never learn. It is not safe to carry cash around”……. I said that the cash I wanted to change will give me roughly 800 Tl and that this is my budget I’ll stick to.
Taksim is a very nice area with good vibe. We sat down at a place I chose for one drink of Raki which he paid for to return the favor of a beer I bought him earlier where we met.
Then the fun started. He said that if I liked Taksim, I am sure to like the Aksaray area, but only if I want to go. I said why not and off we went. (I think his heart leapt for joy !!!) As we got off the taxi in Aksaray we went one street down from the main street and we turned up the street. He walked up to a guy to ask him where a specific club was. He was pointed down the street and we entered a club. He told me he read on the internet about this club and if was familiar with the club, he was surely hiding it very well.
A small bottle off Raki and bottles of water and the most amazing fruit mezzo was immediately brought to the table and as I reached for my smokes, a lighter appeared and I had a glass of Raki in my hand. (I asked my ‘friend’ whether NASA owned the place…NO atmosphere……) He said I should wait and see. Word apparently had it this place will run full of Russian girls within the next hour. I asked what the Raki and mezzo cost and he said 300 Tl and considering what we just paid in Taksim for one Raki, this is an absolute bargain. He said we shall share the bill. I asked to go to the bathroom, took out 150 Tl and returned to the table putting down my part of the bill and
announced that I shall leave as I do not feel comfortable. He protested and said we shall settle the bill later and demanded to know why I suddenly changed my mind. I said I simply did not feel comfortable. While I was in the bathroom, my second drink was poured. He asked why don’t I just take that drink and we shall go. I told him that I in particular do not feel good about a drink that
was poured in my absence. Leaving my 150 Tl, I just walked off, straight past the bouncers and as I turned the corner, I jetted off to the main street, hailed a taxi and LEFT !!!
This guy poses by the name “Kamal” on business in Turkey from Romania. The club he took me to is called “Aksaray Rio Night club” Beware….. These guys are professionals . They will take money from you, you did not know you had. I KNEW about the scam and even so nearly fell for it.
I sincerely hope that no-one who subscribes to this forum ,would be that daft!!
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