IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, How to Get a Foreign Criminal Record Check from Turkey
When you apply for a residence permit or other official identification, the government official involved may ask you for a criminal record check from your home country. How you get this will depend on the procedure used by your government's office that maintains criminal records.
Because you'll be using the criminal record in Turkey, you'll also have to get it legalized and translated. Document legalization involves a separate document called an apostille, which I'll cover a bit later.
Step 1: Learn Where Your Home Country Keeps and Issues Copies of Criminal Records
Use Google to search for the government office in your home country which maintains criminal records. Use keywords and phrases which include the country, province, or district where you lived, along with the key phrase "criminal record."
In the search results, you'll find the website of the government office you need. Visit their website to learn how to have a criminal record check done and have the results sent to you.
ACRO, the Criminal Records Office, maintains criminal records for UK citizens. The website you need is
Regardless of how many states you've lived in, get your criminal record check through the department of state for the state listed on your passport.
Website addresses for all 50 departments of state are the state name followed by ".gov." For example, the website for the Arizona Department of State is www.arizona.gov. You'll find a link somewhere on your department of state website concerning criminal record checks.
Unfortunately, having a criminal record check done in the USA usually requires you to appear in person and submit fingerprints. If this is too difficult, the Turkish government office may make an exception for you.
I specifically asked an immigration specialist about this. He said they go by their impression of the person in deciding if they'll insist on a criminal record check from their home country or not. So if you can't go back to the States, dress nicely and look innocent when you submit your application.
Warning!: Always use websites with an address containing the ".gov" suffix. This suffix means the website is an official government website, and not a private company or individual. Never use a website with an address containing the ".com" suffix. There are many private companies and people with official-looking websites who'll get your criminal record sent to you, but they'll also charge you a lot of money for doing what you can easily do yourself.
Step 2: Have the Criminal Record Check Document Sent to You
The government office which does criminal record checks in your home country, state, or province will have its own procedure, so follow the instructions given on the website and pay whatever fee is involved.
Important!: If the government website has an option to have an apostille or other internationally legalizing document attached to your criminal record check document, choose it! It will save you from having to do it yourself, and you can skip step 3.
Step 3: Have Your Criminal Record Check Document Internationally Legalized
Now that you have your criminal record check document in hand, you must now have it internationally legalized. How you do this depends on whether your country is a member of the apostille convention.
What Is an Apostille?
An apostille is an internationally recognized stamp or document attached to the document which is being certified. When a questioned document has an apostille attached to it, it is recognized and accepted by all countries in the international Apostille Convention.
How to Learn if Your Country is a Member of the Apostille Convention
You can see if your country is a member by going here:
List of Members of the Apostille Convention and Their Competent Authorities
You'll also see the various competent authorities for your country. Once you find the competent authority you need, click on the link provided. That will take you to a page with a link to their website so you can learn where to send the document and how much the fee is.
What is a Competent Authority?
A competent authority is a government office that, under the Apostille Convention, is authorized to issue apostilles.
If You Can't Find Your Country on the List
If you don't see your country on the list, then your country isn't a member of the Apostille Convention. You'll need to contact your country's embassy or consulate for instructions.
To learn more about apostilles, see Apostille: What it is, How it Works and How to Get One from Turkey.
Step 4: Have Your Criminal Record Check Document and Apostille Translated to Turkish
Now that you have your criminal record check document and its apostille, both documents must be translated by a sworn translator. The translator will take their translation to a notary and swear to its accuracy. Then the notary will put their stamp on it. At that point, your criminal record check document will be officially recognized in Turkey, and a copy of it will be kept in the notary's archives.
How to Find a Sworn Translator
Search Google or Google Maps using the name of the province and district where you live, and the keywords yeminli tercüman or yeminli çevirmen. Both phrases mean "sworn translator."
Use the Sworn Translator Federation Website
Go to the website of the Yeminli Çevirmenlik Federasyonu (TURÇEF, or in English, Federation of Sworn Translators), at https://www.turcef.net/. At the bottom of their home page is a menu of the regions of Turkey. Just select the option for where you are to get a listing of sworn translators showing their addresses, contact information, and the languages they specialize in.
To learn more about sworn translators, see Sworn Turkish Translators: What They Do and How to Find One.
Ask a Notary
Notaries in Turkey always work with sworn translators. So, if you see a big red noter sign anywhere, walk into their office and ask where you can find a sworn translator. There will be one nearby.
To learn more about notaries, see Notaries in Turkey: What They Do, Why You'll Need One and How to Find Them.
Step 5: Submit Your Criminal Record Check Document With Your Application
Now that you have your criminal record check document, the apostille, and the official notarized translation of both documents, you can include them in your application package. The Turkish government office you're applying to will only need the notarized translation, but also take the criminal record check document and the apostille with you in case they want to see it.
How to Get Another Copy of Your Legalized and Translated Criminal Record Check Document
When you get the official translation of your criminal record check document from the translator, you'll see a notary stamp on the back of it. This stamp contains a document number because the translation is now part of the archive at the notary's office. If you need to get another copy of the document later, you won't have to go through the whole process again. Just go to the notary office which notarized the translation, and give them the document number. They'll pull the document again and give you another copy of it. That second copy will be as legal as the first, and you can use it for future applications.
UK Criminal Records Checks for Overseas Applicants: From the UK government, explains how UK citizens can get a criminal record check while overseas.
ACRO Criminal Records Office, UK: The place where you can get a criminal records check certificate in the United Kingdom.
Criminal Records Checks for US Citizens: From the US Department of State, information about how you can obtain a criminal record certificate from the US.
Assistance and Support
Turkey Central Forums: Do you have a question? Search our forums to see if it's already been answered. If it hasn't, feel free to open a new topic.
IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, COVID-19 in Turkey: How to Get a Travel Permission Document
The government rules which affect what you can and can't do, when you can and can't go outside, and if you can travel or not change from time to time. Monitor the English language Turkish news websites to see what rules are in place at the moment. Two websites you can monitor are the Daily Sabah and Hurriyet Daily News.
During the COVID-19 pandemic the Turkish government, from time to time, prohibits travel between cities and provinces. But if you must travel for some important reason, you can apply for a Seyahat İzin Belgesi (Travel Permission Document).
The Travel Permission Document is required, during travel bans, for inter-city travel by all Turkish citizens and permanent residents of Turkey. It doesn't apply to tourists or foreigners visiting Turkey with a passport and visa or national ID card on a temporary basis.
So if you're a Turkish citizen or a resident of Turkey with a residence or work permit, read on.
There are three ways to get a Travel Permission Document:
Use e-Devlet to apply online. Call the Nüfus ve Vatandaşlık İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü (Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs) helpline at 199. Go to the kaymakam (district governor's office). You can get a Travel Permission Document to Go:
home after treatment in a hospital home after completing military service home after being released from prison to a medical appointment that you made before the travel ban to a funeral of your spouse or immediate family, and taking the deceased to the cemetery (maximum four people) back to your home city, if you can't find a place to stay in the city you visited (you must return within five days of arrival) The Information You'll need for your application:
See below, under Applying for a Travel Permission Document on e-Devlet, step 2 and step 3, to learn the information you'll need to apply for a travel permission document, even if you call the 199 number or go to the kaymakam.
Applying for a Travel Permission Document on e-Devlet
E-Devlet has a page where you can submit all kinds of applications to the Turkish government. As you go through the process, the system creates the application for you. When you're finished and you approve it, the system sends your application to where it needs to go, in this case, to the kaymakam (district governor's office) for the provincial district where you live.
Learn how to join and use e-Devlet.
Here's how to create and submit a Travel Permission Document application using e-Devlet.
Step 1: Go to the General Application Page
If you're not signed in as a member of e-Devlet, the system will prompt you to sign in. After you sign in, you'll be returned to the application form.
Click Yeni Başvuru (New Application) to go the next page and create your application.
Step 2: Select the Type of Application You Want to Make
In the first drop-down select menu, select:
Seyahat İzin İşlemleri (Travel Permit Transactions)
In the second drop-down menu, select the option which applies to you. They are:
65 Yaş Altı Vatandaşlarımıza Özel Araç Seyahat İzin Belgesi Verilmesi (Giving Private Vehicle Travel Permit Certificate to Citizens Under 65) 65 Yaş Üstu Vatandaşlarımız İçin Turizm Amaçlı Yurt İçi Seyahat İzni Verilmesi (Issuance of Domestic Travel Permit for Tourism Purposes for Citizens Over 65) 65 Yaş Üstu Vatandaşlarımıza Seyahat İzin Belgesi Verilmesi (Giving Travel Permit Certificate to Citizens Over 65) When you make your selection, a second drop-down select menu will appear below, saying
Bulunduğunuz İl (Province Where You Are). It selects the Valilik (Office of the Governor) For the province you're in, as in Antalya Valiliği).
It will also ask for optional information according to which choice you made (see above) such as
Doğum Tarihiniz (Your date of birth) Gideceği Yerdeki Hane Halkından En Az Birinin T.C. Kimlik Numarası, Adı Soyadı, Cep Telefonu (The identification number, name and surname, and mobile phone number of at least one member of the household of the address you want to visit) Beraberindeki Yakınlarının (Eş, Çocuk, Anne, Baba, Kardeş) T.C. Kimlik Numaraları, Doğum Tarihleri ve İsimleri (The identification numbers, names, and dates of birth of any immediate family members who will be accompanying you) Select Devam Et (Continue) to go to the next page.
Step 3: Enter Your Travel Details and Information About Your Travel Companions and Submit Your Application
On this page you'll see your name, address, and mobile phone number as it will be entered into your application.
Below that will be the type of travel permission you want and the drop-down select menu Başvurulacak Taşra Teşkilatı (Provincial Organization to Which You're Applying). Choose the kaymakam (district governor's office) for the district you're in.
Below that is a text area which by default contains the standard application text, which tells you what you need to have in your application:
Beraberindeki Yakınlarının T.C. Kimlik Numaraları, Doğum Tarihleri ve İsimleri (Varsa Eşiniz Hariç En Fazla 2 Kişi Refakatçi Olabilir. Refakatçiniz Gidiş Tarihinden Sonraki 3 Gün İçerisinde Tekrar Dönüş Yapabilir.)
Accompanying Relatives' Identification Numbers, Birth Dates and Names (there is a maximum of 2 people, excluding your spouse, who can accompany you. Your companion can return again within 3 days after the departure date.)
Below that, there's Ek Belge (Additional Documents). Click the Dosya Ekleyin (Add File) button browse your computer's files and upload any documents you might have which support your reason for travel.
Under Detay Bilgi Listesi (Detail Information List), Add your trip details:
Şu an Bulduğunuz Adres (Current Address)
Gidilecek İl (Province You're Going To)
Gidilecek Adres (Address You're Going To)
Seyahat Turu (Travel Type) Select one of the following:
Otobus (Bus) Özel Araç (Special Vehicle) Tren (Train) Uçak (Airplane) Then select your Gidiş Tarihi (Date of Departure) from the smart calendar.
In the last section of the page, Başvuru Onayı (Application Approval), you'll see:
Yukarıda Belirtilen Durumları / Uyarıları Okuyup Kabul Ettiğinizi Onaylıyor Musunuz? İşlemi onaylamak için EVET yazınız.
Do You Confirm That You Have Read and Accept the Conditions / Warnings Above? Type EVET to confirm the action.
So type Evet (Yes) in the text box to acknowledge that you've read the conditions and warnings throughout the application process.
Finally, click Başvur (Apply).
Applying for a Travel Permission Document by Calling 199
You can call the 199 help line for free, from any telephone in Turkey. After the welcome recording, press 1.
There's no option for English, but you may be able to be transferred to an English-speaking person by asking İngilizce konuşan biriyle konuşabilir miyim? (Can I speak to a person who speaks English?).
Information You'll Need
To learn what you'll need to apply when you call, see "Applying for a Travel Permission Document on e-Devlet" (above), Step 2 and Step 3.
Applying for a Travel Permission Document at the District Governor's Office
You can go to your district governorship office and fill out a form to get a travel permission document.
Get an HES Code First
Before you can enter any government building, you must have an HES code. The HES code is a number used to track and trace contacts between people. If you have an HES code, you'll be notified if you've been in contact with someone who later tests positive for the COVID-19 virus.
You can get your HES code in minutes using your mobile phone.
Learn how to apply for and receive an HES code.
Information You'll Need
To learn what you'll need to apply when you go to the district governor's office, see "Applying for a Travel Permission Document on e-Devlet" (above), Step 2 and Step 3.
Receiving Approval to Travel
Once your travel permission document is approved, you'll receive an SMS message letting you know it's been approved. Normally when they send such messages, they also include a link to a PDF document you can download. Save this document in an easy-to-access folder in the file system of your smartphone or transfer it to your regular computer and print it.
Insider Tip: Your travel permission will be connected to your foreigner identification number. That's the official word. But I'd strongly recommend that, once you've downloaded the Travel Permission Document, you transfer a copy to your regular computer, print it, and keep it with you. If something doesn't go as it should or if there's some technical problem, you'll have the printed document to show ticket sellers, the police, or anybody else who needs proof that you have travel permission.
Your Travel Permission Will Be Checked at Departure Points
When you go to any departure point like an airport, bus terminal, or train station, the clerk selling the ticket will use your foreigner ID number to see if you have travel permission. If you do, they'll sell you the ticket. If you don't, they won't sell you the ticket.
The police may also do spot checks of buses or cars and check to see if you have travel permission.
Again, have a printed version of your travel permission document with you in case you need it.
IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Burglary in Turkey
The Usual Burglaries
The majority of burglaries committed in Turkey are unplanned and disorganized. Burglars rely on lax security and look for the easiest target with the least risk. They make sure nobody is home through some method which can be easily explained away, such as knocking on a door with a pretext question or walking around the house to see if they are challenged, as they look for an easy entry point.
If they find they're able to walk through an unlocked door or climb through an insecure window, speed is essential. so they take what is left on tables and dressers or stored in the usual drawers. Even the most basic security measures could stop these burglaries. Just hiding valuables in a place one would not normally expect them to be can prevent their loss.
The usual burglaries are committed during the day, when the resident has gone out for a short time. Victims can be especially complacent ıf their town is known for having a low crime rate.
Burglaries During Local Events
Well-advertised events, such as concerts, assure would-be burglars that a lot of people aren't going to be home at a certain time. In Çeşme, a mostly crime-free resort area, teams of burglars came from out of town to find unoccupied homes during the well-advertised concert of a famous European singer. Thankfully, the burglars were caught and most of the property returned.
Although rare, a swarm involves three or more people (in a recent case all women) who knock on a door, then get inside. While one or two of the group keep the homeowner distracted, the other(s) roam around grabbing what they can. Then they leave as quickly as they came.
Doors are the primary entry point for burglars, especially when they are unlocked or left open.
Most houses and apartments in larger towns in cities come with a Çelik Kapısı (cheh-leek kah-puh-suh) or steel door, which is fitted with a regular lock, separate from the handle. These also lock with a bolt at three different points in its steel frame by a turn the knob one to three times for three different depths.
They are quite secure, and without a locksmith, it would take several hours (and cause a lot of noise) to get through one when it is completely locked. Steel doors also come with a "spy hole" or "peep hole" so you can see who is on the other side of the door before you open it.
If you don't have a steel door, have one installed. Make sure that it also has a steel frame, and that the frame is at least as strong as the door.
Consider installing a door cage. These are made of decorative steel bars, and lock with a key, so you can open your main door without letting a person on the other side enter. They can also pass things to you between the bars.
Have a door with a spy hole so you can see who is on the other side before you open it. Talk to the person through the door rather than opening it to someone you don't know.
Make sure your door chain is a high-quality steel chain, with a sturdy attachment to the door frame. It should only be used as a secondary means to address someone on the other side of the door if you don't have a locked door cage.
The Back Door
Back doors can be more vulnerable to break ins because a burglar can work out of the view of neighbors or passers-by on the street. Back doors should be as sturdy and have the same security features as the front door.
Doors with Windows
Some back doors (and front doors) have window panes which can be broken if the door is locked. Replace any standard single panes with double-glazed laminated glass. These windows have two panes which are bonded together with a laminate, making them stronger and harder to break.
Instead of having a deadbolt lock with a knob on the inside, which a burglar can access by reaching through a broken window, have a lock with a key on both sides.
Sliding Balcony or Patio Doors
Sliding doors are attractive to burglars, because many of them only have a single, flimsy latch which locks to the frame. On upper balconies, sliding doors are often left open, an invitation to burglars.
When poorly-secured sliding doors are closed and locked, a burglar can pry and force the door open, or use a lever to lift the door from the bottom so the latch releases from the hole in the frame. They can also lift the door off its track and remove the door entirely.
You can stop the door from being lifted by screwing a thin, flat piece of wood into the inside of the top track. This will take up any excess space and prevent the door from being lifted.
Sliding doors should always have locks which are separate from the latch, and which secure the door to the frame on the top and bottom with a key. Have these types of locks installed if they aren't already.
At minimum, a good way to prevent a sliding door from being opened is to drill a hole through both door frames, at the bottom, and insert a bolt through the hole in both doors. Even if a burglar is able to defeat the standard latch, he will not be able to slide it open if the bolt is in place, unless he smashes the glass, which would attract attention.
Note: When a door locks with a key on both sides, you can keep the key in the lock when you are at home. But when you are out, put the key in an in a nearby, easily-accessible place, always in the same place, but out of reach of anyone who could reach through a broken window or use a rod to retrieve it. This way, if the key isn't in the lock and you need to get out quickly because of a fire or other emergency, the key will be near the door and you will always know where it is. This is especially important with door cages, since they should not have the key left in them at any time.
Don't hide an extra key under a door mat, flower pot, or rock in the garden. Have a trusted friend keep your key for you.
Windows are a secondary entry and exit point for burglars, or a primary point when unlocked or open. Windows should be laminated and double-glazed. Wooden single-frame windows are the least secure, and should be replaced.
Window locks should fasten the window to the frame by means of bolts, at least three of them. The locking mechanism should be separate from the handle and lock the window itself, not just the handle. It is best to buy windows with these locks already installed, since the necessary drilling and fitting may weaken the frame and void the warranty of the window.
Window locks should lock with a key, not just a knob, and the key should not be left in the lock. To leave a window partly open, but still secure, buy a window which has a sliding lock, or buy one and have it installed.
Lighting should be used to augment, not replace, other security measures. Lights can be used to illuminate entry points and to make your house look occupied.
You can get security lights which have motion-detection capability, which can be adjusted both for the scope of the area they sense, as well as their sensitivity. Sudden, unexpected illumination will sometimes scare off a burglar before he tries to enter, and also deny him the darkness he needs to do his work.
If you are out, leave a light on in a sitting room with the curtains closed. Don't use a hallway light. If a hallway light is on for hours, it is rather obvious that nobody is living in the hallway. Get light timers which will turn interior lights on and off at random, or at certain times. Timers can also be used for the radio or TV.
Again, these are merely methods to augment an overall security plan, since a burglar can also knock on your door with a pretext, to find out if anyone is home.
The front door of your apartment building should have an intercom system so you can verify the identity of someone wanting to enter the building, and an electric lock that you can open remotely by pressing a button. It should have an automatic door closer, which closes the door completely and locks it automatically, as well as a manual means to open the door from the inside in case of a power outage. The building front door should never be wedged open.
Don't open the building front door until you verify who it is. Just because you are expecting a delivery, or a guest, doesn't mean they are the ones who rung the bell. Unfortunately, the building's front door is only as secure as the least security-conscious occupant of the building.
If your apartment is on the lower floors, the security precautions covered earlier in this article apply.
Burglars sometimes use trees, drain pipes, ladders, and even the security bars on lower apartment balconies to climb to the apartments on higher floors. A prime target is a balcony door which is left open and is easily seen from the street. Many a morning has seen a group of people gazing up at a second, third, or fourth-floor apartment, scratching their heads and asking themselves "how did he get up there?"
Besides a securely-locked balcony door, putting a motion-sensing light on your balcony can be an effective deterrent to this type of burglary.
Top floors are sometimes targeted because only a few people in an apartment building ever go there. By watching the elevator's floor indicator, burglars can know when someone is coming. If the elevator doesn't stop its ascent and is about to come to the floor they're on, they can run down the stairs.
In this case, your front door is your only defense. Make sure that you have a high-quality steel door, and that all of its locks are locked, including the deadbolt. A completely locked steel door takes hours to get through, and the work involved to do so makes plenty of noise.
Newspapers, Mail, and Fliers
Have someone come by every day or so to pick up newspapers, mail, and fliers which are left at your door. Even if you don't subscribe to a newspaper or get much mail, a few unsolicited fliers stuck in your door which have been there for several days is a sure sign that nobody is home.
Make sure your house is visible from the street and that vegetation doesn't provide hiding places. Lock up ladders either by storing them inside or with a chain and lock. Don't leave tools laying around which could be used by a burglar. Lock up bicycles and maintenance equipment in the garage or in the house, or chain them up to a secure post.
An alarm system can significantly reduce the chances of a burglary, and various types of systems are widely available in Turkey. You can get an alarm system which simply makes a loud noise at most any do-it-yourself store. More sophisticated alarm systems, which are are monitored by security professionals who call the police when an alarm activates are available from local security firms.
Property Marking and Photography
Marking your property makes it more difficult to fence, as well as providing police a way to return recovered property to you. Engrave your most valuable items with your name and a number so you can show that it belongs to you. Record serial numbers of expensive electronics, and photograph valuables to make it easy for police to know if any recovered property is yours.
You can shut down your mobile phone if you have recorded it's International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. For more information on this, see the article on lost or stolen mobile phones.
Learn Security Consciousness
Even if you have the highest level of security devices available in your home, they are completely ineffective if you don't use them. Get in the habit of closing and locking doors and windows even when you are at home, for example, hosting a barbecue or swimming in the pool. At minimum, learn the habit of locking doors and windows when you go out, even if it's only for a short time, until it becomes second-nature. Brief family and visitors who are staying with you about security precautions they should take.
Crime, Safety, and Terrorism in Turkey Forum: Please visit an join our forum to post questions or comments about this topic.
IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Ten Ways a Turk Might Wish You Well
Turks are known for their friendliness and close relationships, as well as their politeness and consideration of others. So they have certain "set phrases," which are used to express good wishes to you in various circumstances. Usually, the reply would be "teşekkür ederim" (teh-shek-kyur eh-deh-reem), which means "thank you," or "sağol" (sah-ol), which is a wish for life, but is also used to say "thank you." If a different reply is called for, it will be noted below.
1. When you sneeze, a Turk will say...
"Çok yaşa!" (choke yah-shah), Meaning "a long life to you!"
You would reply "sen de gör!" (sen deh-goor), Meaning "may you live to see it!"
2. When you are about to eat something, a Turk will say...
"Afiyet olsun!" (ah-fee-yet ol-soon), Meaning "good appetite!" Or they may say "Beraber Olsun!" (beh-rah-behr ol-soon), meaning "may it be so, together!" and insist you join them and share their meal.
3. When you are feeling ill, or going through a difficult time, a Turk will say...
"Geçmiş Olsun" (gech-mish ol-soon)! Meaning "may it pass quickly!"
4. When you have just taken a shower, a Turk will say...
"Sıhhatlar olsun!" Meaning "may it bring you health!"
5. When you have just bought a new article of clothing, a Turk will say...
"Güle güle giyin!" (goo-leh goo-leh gee-yeen)! Meaning "wear it with a smile!"
6. When you have just bought a new computer, smart phone, appliance, etc, a Turk will say...
"Güle güle kullanın!" Meaning "use it with a smile!"
7. When you have just bought a new house, started a business, or started your business day, a Turk will say...
"Hayırlı olsun!" Meaning "may it have a good result!"
8. When you have bought a new pair of glasses, or jewelry, a Turk will say...
"Güle güle takın!" Meaning "wear it with a smile!"
9. When you are working, a Turk will say...
"Kolay gelsin!" Meaning "may it (your work) come easily!" Or they may say "Hayırlı olsun!" meaning "may it have a good result!"
10. When you are departing, a Turk will say...
"Hoşça kal!" Meaning "stay well!" He or she may also say "kendini iyi bak!" Meaning "take good care of yourself!"
IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Toll Highways and the HGS System in Turkey
Toll Highways (Otoyol)
Depending on where you are driving in Turkey, you may come across an otoyol, which is a modern highway where the speed limit is 120 KPH. Otoyols also have rest stops with petrol stations, restaurants, and other travel necessities strategically placed along their lengths. These are toll roads, and the only way you can pay the toll is by registering with the Hızlı Geçiş Sistemi (heez-lee geh-jees see-steh-mee) [HGS]), which means "Fast Pass System." This involves pre-paying into the system, and mounting an HGS transponder on the inside of your vehicle's windshield behind the rear view mirror. The transponder is really not much more than a sticker. It allows you to breeze through HGS toll booths without even slowing down.
If you are renting a car, ask your car rental company if your itinerary will require an HGS transponder before you set off on your journey. If so, they should give you a car which already has a transponder on it.
How to Get an HGS Transponder For Your Vehicle
Go to any PTT, (Turkish Post Office), or to a Turkish bank with your visa or residence permit Pay 5TL for the transponder, and 30TL for tolls in advance Mount the sticker-transponder they give you as described above If you have an account at a Turkish bank, ask them about having the your HGS account automatically topped up from your bank account.
Alternatives to Toll Highways Using the HGS System
If you come upon an otoyol and don't have the HGS system, you can use secondary roads which run alongside it. You will have to enter the secondary road well before you come to the toll highway entrance, so keep an eye out for the exit as soon as you realize you are approaching a toll road. If you miss the turn, there may be no way to turn around.
If you go through the automatic toll system without an HGS transponder, an alarm will sound, a camera will take a photo of the car and license plate, and a fine will be assessed which is ten times the toll amount. Most toll amounts are around two or three Turkish Lira, so expect a fine of 20 to 30 Turkish Lira.
Toll Bridges and Tunnels
The bridges going in and out of Istanbul use only the HGS system. Bridges (and tunnels) in other parts of the country are not part of the HGS system, and usually have toll collection systems run by private contractors or local municipalities, so they accept cash.
The HGS Smartphone Application
You can download an HGS application in the Google Play and Apple Store. Just search for "HGS." With the HGS app, you can check the balance on your HGS account and top it up using a credit card.
Cars, Car Insurance, and Driving in Turkey Forum: If you have questions about the HGS system or driving in Turkey, please post them in the forum.
HGS Customer Services: In Turkish. On the PTT website, this page provides a variety of customer service options regarding your HGS account.
Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Tolls in Turkey: From the General Directorate of Highways, provides a linked list of all motorways, bridges and tunnels subject to tolls. Click on the links to find out how much the toll is for each kind of vehicle.
IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Dolmuş Mini-buses in Turkey
Somewhere between a bus and a taxi is the Dolmuş (dohl-moosh), a kind of "shared taxi" which has characteristics of both. It's a cheap and easy way to get around--from your hotel to a nearby beach--or from your home to work.
By all means get over any reluctance to ride one for the first time. Once you take your first dolmuş ride you'll probably use them as a regular means of transportation, and probably wonder why they don't have them in your own country.
Although cars are sometimes be used for this purpose, 12-passenger mini-bus dolmuşes are the norm. The word "dolmuş" means "stuffed." It recalls the days when dolmuşes were overcrowded with passengers, many of them packed in the aisle with little or no room to move. Laws now require dolmuşes to carry only the number of passengers they can properly seat.
A dolmuş runs a fixed route from origin to destination, with regular stops along the way as indicated on a placard on the windshield. Regular dolmuş stops are marked with a sign, bearing a white "D" on a blue background. They usually don't work on a time schedule. If you miss one, another will probably be along in about 20 minutes.
Boarding a Dolmuş
Dolmuşes congregate at a garaj, which is usually an open parking lot. They wait until they have a few passengers, and then start their route. You can catch one at the garaj or waive one down anywhere along its route. Waive at the driver, and he will pull over and stop, traffic permitting. To make sure you're getting on the correct one, look for a placard in the windshield which displays its destination(s).
Paying the Fare
Dolmuş fares are set by the municipality. The fare is much less than a taxi, usually around 5TL. You can pay as soon as you board, or you can sit down and pass the fare to a passenger in front of you. The passengers will pass it to the driver. If you have change coming, they will pass it back to you the same way.
Getting Off at Your Stop
When the Dolmuş comes to a place where you want to get off, say inecek var (ee-neh-jek vahr), which means "there is one to get off." If you are new to the area and don't know which stop you need, you can tell the driver what hotel you're staying in or where your final destination is, and he'll let you know when your stop comes up.
Dolmuşes usually operate during daylight hours. During the summer, in tourist areas, they may operate until midnight.
Although not officially a "dolmuş," there are larger short-haul mini-buses which run routes between nearby towns, beaches or sights, either for a company or a cooperative between the two towns. They usually depart from the bus station, and have a set schedule and fare, but unlike long-haul inter-city buses, they may also pick up passengers who signal them along the way.
Travel, Tours, and Activities Forum
IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Lost or Stolen Mobile (Cell) Phones in Turkey
Learning Your Mobile Phone's IMEI Number
There are three ways to learn your mobile phone's IMEI number:
Enter the following numbers and characters on the keypad of your phone: * # 06 #. A 15-digit number will appear. That is your phone's IMEI number. Turn off your phone, remove the battery cover and the battery. Under the battery you will also see the IMEI number. Look on the box or in the documentation that came with your mobile phone. Keep this number separate from your mobile phone, and not in anything which might also be lost or stolen with your phone.
Reporting a Lost or Stolen Mobile Phone
Call the Mobile Device Registration System
From within Turkey: 444 9777
From outside of Turkey: 90 312 232 23 23
Or, call your network provider. Their main customer service numbers are:
Turkcell: 444 0 532
Vodaphone: 444 0 542
Avea: 444 1 500
These are national toll-free numbers, so no prefixes are necessary in Turkey.
They will direct you to an English-speaking operator if necessary. Explain the situation and give them your IMEI number, and they will disable your mobile phone. Your phone will be useless to anyone trying to use it, even if they insert a new SIM card.
Report your stolen mobile phone to the police. It may be recovered and returned to you if they have a report on file.
Telephones and Internet Forum
IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Crimes Targeting Single Male Travelers in Turkey
New Travel Friends
One or more men will find a reason to start a conversation, by asking you the time or saying something to you in Turkish. When you reply, they will address you in English. Coincidentally, they will be going your way or offer to show you around. They may even travel with you for a while. At some point they will offer you candy or gum laced with a knockout drug. On a train or bus, it will appear to everyone else that you simply went to sleep. Then at an opportune moment, they will relieve you of your money, credit cards, and anything else you have of value. They may even take your luggage.
Let's Go to a Bar I Know
In this scenario, a one or more men will approach you and talk about a great bar he wants to take you to, where there are beautiful women. The workers at the bar will also be in on the scam. Some of these bars are called paviyon or gazino (not to be confused with "casino").
Paviyons and Gazinos can range from hole-in-the-wall bars to extravagant night clubs. They have women working there as "hostesses," who chat up the male customers and get them to spend as much money as possible. The price for your drink will probably be at least double what you would normally pay, and drinks bought for the women may be five to eight times more expensive than usual. They are actually legitimate businesses, even with their outrageous prices. What your new friend(s), and the bar owner will be counting on is that you don't know this.
After an evening with your friend and whatever women sit at your table, your friend will disappear and the bill will come. It may be 1,000, 2,000, or even 3,000 TL, and they will demand immediate payment. Because you probably won't know exactly where you are, you will be at a complete disadvantage. If you don't have the cash, they will demand your credit card and run the charge on it, and even walk you to the nearest bank machine to take out cash to pay the bill. Your new friend will return later to the bar get his commission.
Technically, this isn't illegal. Someone stiffing you with a bar bill doesn't really rise to the level of a crime. If you were to ask the price of the drinks first, and make it clear that you were not buying drinks for your friend or any of the women, the barman will probably just be disgusted, the women will go sit somewhere else, and your friend will storm off to find another victim. That is, unless they spike your drink.
In this case, you will be taken to a bar exactly as in the previous scenario, but at some point either the barman or one of your "friends" will spike your drink with a knockout drug. When aroused, you will be highly open to suggestion. You will then be taken to the office and relieved of your cash and credit cards, then taken to a bank machine, and instructed to withdraw as much money as you can.
When you wake up the next day, who knows where, you won't remember anything. Your credit cards will be in your wallet, and you won't know how bad the damage is until you get a credit card bill for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
If you do happen to run in to your "friends" again, or return to the bar, they will tell you that you became very drunk, acted horribly, and bought drinks for everyone in the bar over and over again. They will do this to lessen the chance that you will report what happened, and hope you will just forget about it.
How to Keep from Being a Victim
Never put anything in your mouth which is offered by new acquaintances. Say you're on a diet, don't like candy or gum, or put it somewhere "for later." Throw it away as soon as you have a chance. Make an excuse, say you have friends waiting for you. Or just leave offering no explanation at all.
Rather than go to the place they want to take you, insist on going to a mainstream bar or cafe in a public place, of your choosing. If they balk at this idea and keep trying to talk you in to going to their bar, it's a sure sign that they have bad intentions. Get away from them.
If You Become a Victim
Report it to the police. If you have simply been stiffed with an exorbitant bill, the police may or may not act. But it may also be that the police are fed up with this particular bar and are just waiting for the next case to do something about it. A police report will also help getting your money back from the credit card company.
If you have been drugged, the drug typically used is metabolized quickly by the body, but may still be present in your blood the next day. The police may or may not have you give a blood and urine sample. That will all depend on how serious the local police take it. They may just say "you should have been more careful" and do nothing, but if you don't report it, it is certain that they will do nothing.
Contact your credit card company and explain what happened. In one case, a man in Adana, who was taken to paviyon, drugged, and had unauthorized charges racked up on his card returned to the bar. He obtained the price of the various drinks, then informed the credit card company that he would have to have bought 400 cognacs (their most expensive drink) or some 3,000 beers in the three hours he was there (using testimony of workers at bar where he was previously and the time of the charge to frame the time). The credit card company disapproved the charges and refunded all of his money.
Crime, Safety, and Terrorism in Turkey Forum: If you have questions or comments about this topic, please post them in our forum.
IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, How to Find or Write a Turkish Address
Understanding a Turkish address can be difficult, since streets may have both a number and a name, and what you are given in your directions may differ from what you see on the signs (if you can find a sign).
Some smaller streets are not labeled on Google maps. The situation is better in major cities than it is in rural towns.
An example of a Turkish address
1463 Sok. No. 3 Kat 5 D:13
What it means
Line 1: Name (Mehmet Aslan).
Line 2: Neighborhood (Mahalle or Mh.)
Line 3: Name of the apartment complex or building, which is usually on a placard above the entrance.
Line 4: Street name, which is 1453 Sokak (street), the building number (3), the floor number (Kat 5, or fifth floor) and finally the apartment unit or office itself (Daire 13). The building number will also be displayed around the entrance.
Line 5: The postal code and the province. Postal codes in Turkey begin with the number of the province (Antalya is number 07), and the last three numbers indicate the postal area within the province.
Turkish addresses may also include a hint for how to find it, like "PTT Arkası" (behind the post office).
The ground floor is 0 (zero). The floor above that is 1, then 2, and so on.
Turkish Words to Help You Find an Address
Sokak (Sok.): Street
Cadde (Caddesi, or Cad.): Avenue
Bulvarı (Blv.): Boulevard
Kat (K): Floor
Daire (D): Apartment unit
Site (Sitesi): A housing complex, group of apartment buildings.
Blok: Block number in a site or complex.
Government Address Changes and Learning Your Correct Address
The Turkish government has changed many addresses in Turkey, leaving many buildings with old plaques on them, listing the wrong building number. In most cases, the government has used new white-on-blue metal plaques which show the new official address.
If you don't have one of these, and are not sure what your real address is, there are two ways of learning it.
Go to the Nüfus ve Vatandaşlık İşleri Müdürlüğü (Population and Citizenship Directorate, or "Nüfus), with your passport or residence permit and your rental contract or tapu (property title deed), and ask them what your new address is. Go to the Doğal Afet Sigortaları Kurumu (Natural Disaster Insurance Institution, called "DASK") website's address code search page. This page lets you drill down to your exact address, using listings sorted by province, city, district, street, and apartment number. See Also
Living in Turkey Forum: If you have any questions about finding an address in Turkey, please ask it in the Living in Turkey forum.