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UmarAlFarooq

US Citizen Attacked in Istanbul

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Hello,

 

I am a US Citizen who is married to a Turkish woman but it is a religious marriage only, not a legal one. Her ex-husband has been divorced from her both legally and religiously but claimed that he did not divorce her religiously. I came to Turkey and went to our apartment and her ex-husband showed up with her and he took out a knife and tried to kill me. My wife was translating for me and he said "If I see you again, I will kill you."

 

Next time I saw him at my wife's grandmother's house and he again attacked me, this time, breaking my finger. I went to the hospital, got a doctor's report showing that my finger has been fractured and took the report to the police station. They filed a complaint. My wife and her mother came to give their statement and confirmed that I was attacked by the ex-husband. Now the case is supposed to go to the Sevgelik (Public Prosecutor's Office) and I'm supposed to show up for that.

 

I don't know how long that will take but I don't live in Turkey. I need to know what my rights are and what, if any, protections do I have. Does the US consulate do anything to help? I spoke to a couple of lawyers and they said the bill just to represent me will run into the thousands and that is if it doesn't even go to court! If it goes to court, there are additional fees which are more expensive. Is there anything in this country as a public defendant or pro-bono lawyers who can help me?

 

I hardly feel it is fair to be attacked and then just to file my complaint with the public prosecutor's office, I have to pay thousands of dollars. In the US, this would be an open and shut case. He attacked, two witnesses gave their statements to the police, I've been injured and there must be some form of compensation or settlement. Often times attorneys take a case on a percent basis. If they win the case, they keep 30% and give the rest to me.

 

Is there any help for US citizens in Turkey? If not, I see this as an open invitation for people to attack any foreigner and get away with it Scott free because it will be too difficult for them to prosecute the case!

 

Thank you,

 

-Umar.

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This is not a civil case where a lawyer would take a percentage. It is a case for a prosecutor acting on behalf of the public, that the citizens pay for. Victims of rape, robbery, burglary, or whatever, don't call the police because they want to sue the perpetrator. They call them because the state has the responsibility to enforce the law and arrest and prosecute those who commit such crimes.

 

What you are talking about here is a CRIME. Not a lawsuit. The prosecutor is obligated to act on your behalf. The  prosecutor is your lawyer.

 

The defendant, your attacker, needs a defense attorney. He has to pay. Not you.

 

The US Consulate can't intervene in Turkish law. But they can give you information about what to do.

 

I'm going to send a PM to Sabo, or LawyerinIzmir as his member name is, to chime in on this. 

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Hello Admin,

 

Are not the victims of crimes entitled to compensation in Turkey? My right hand ring finger is broken and I'm in the computer field. Doctor has told me to lay off the finger for 3 to 4 weeks. It is extremely difficult to use my hand with the finger splint, not just for typing but doing many day to day activities. He has threatened to kill me many times.

 

When I filed a police report they asked me two particular questions "Are you filing a complaint against Mehmet Faith Siyer?" and "Do you want to compromise?" I said "Yes" and "Yes". I understand there is a new law in Turkey about arbitration: 

 

http://www.gurlaw.com/alternative-dispute-resolution-methods/

There is a post in this forum about this as well:

http://www.turkeycentral.com/topic/19666-turkeys-brand-new-alternative-dispute-resolution-system/

 

I spoke to two lawyers but they didn't know about this arbitration and seemed a little clueless. I tried to give them power of attorney but the Noter office said "He has to have a Turkish Tax ID number". I don't live in Turkey and I'm not doing business in Turkey. Why would I need a tax id number? How do I go about getting one? They said "Here is a fee schedule or "tariff" by Istanbul bar and proceeded to show me that prosecuting this case through them would cost me about 10,000 TL if it goes to court and at a minimum 1,500 TL to have representation and I still have to come in front of the prosecutor.

 

So it comes down to the same question, "How do foreign nationals get justice in Turkey when a crime has been committed against them?" The Sevgilik (Prosecutor's office) has my US address. Will they even send anything internationally? Would I be required to appear in person? Who will cover the cost of that? It is convenient for the perpetrator of a crime to show up to the prosecutor's office because he's local. What about foreigners who live ten thousand miles away? How can we just "show up" to the hearing bearing such expenses?

 

Now, if the public knows about this, what would then stop a local citizen from increasing such attacks on foreign nationals thinking "There is little to no chance I could get into trouble because they're too far away to prosecute the case"? Because of the distance and the cost associated, we foreign nationals can't do anything.

 

We are walking targets for anyone to commit crimes against. Imagine if it was rape, as you mentioned. The poor girl who can't afford to fly to Turkey or afford legal representation will sit in her country and can't do anything while the perpetrator walks free?

 

In the US, the whole point of hiring an attorney, as opposed to let's say, a paralegal or anyone else, is that the attorney has the power to represent you in abstentia (when you're not there). If I have to fly here taking days off of work, arrangements to take care of my son, get a hotel and other expenses just to show up for the hearing, then what's the point of hiring a lawyer? I already gave my statement to the police. I already got the doctor's report with x-rays from 2 different hospitals. First one was a private hospital which the police said they won't accept. They kindly drove me to the public hospital and I got a report from there saying the same thing. The two witnesses already gave their statements to the police also.

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I asked LawyerinIzmir about this case and this is what he said:

 

 

 

A victim of a crime may apply to the prosecution for defendant should be punished. In this case, the victim doesn't have to get a lawyer's service. The prosecutor will gathers all evidence and will start and criminal case. Than The Court examined the evidence and gather new evidence and if necessary will decide . However, the victim may involve in the case himself may also attend if he wish . He may submit new evidence during the hearing. If he wish at this stage he can be represented by a lawyer . In this case he must pay his lawyer's fees . İzmir TL 2,500 for attorneys' fees could be TL 5,000 . Figures are much higher in Istanbul . If the victim in abroad there is no obligation to come to Turkey. The victim's statement is received by the judicial authorities in the country he live. However in this case it will result in much longer than normal.

Also he may start a civil action as compensation case for his damages in civil court . He can demand compensation for material and moral damages . This case should be started and pursuit by himself or his attorney . The prosecution does not interfere this case. In practice the compensation case, average attorneys' fees are 10% to 25% of amount of compensation. 

Victim and defender may compromise about all case (criminal case and compensation case) In this case the defender will not be prosecute by paying the amount that they agreed.

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Dear Admin, are you one person? If you are then you are incredible!

 

Thank you so much for taking the effort to contact a lawyer who seems to know his stuff! This reply has been most helpful. It gives me at least some leads to follow up with.

 

Is it possible to find out from the attorney if there are pro-bono lawyers in Turkey or organizations who help victims and foreign nationals with their case? As I mentioned, I am severely strapped for cash and could use all the help I could get.

 

I understand the longer processing time due to the distance but I still need to make sure that I didn't just receive a brush-off from the police department. All I've given them is the perpetrator's full name and where he's from. After they took down the information, I gave them his phone number but they didn't include that in the paperwork. I don't know if they have his ID number or not, if and how they'll contact him and if he gets served notice.

 

Thank you once again,

 

-Umar.

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Hi Umar,

 

Thanks for the compliment. Posted Image

 

I don't know of any lawyers who would work on a pro-bono basis. The lawyer is a member here, his forum name is LawyerinIzmir. You can go to his profile and send him a PM.  What I was saying before is that you wouldn't need a lawyer to file criminal charges, the prosecutor acts on behalf of the state. But if you want to sue the guy, then that's a civil case and not a criminal case, and you would need a lawyer for that.  If found liable for assault and battery in the civil case, there might be a monetary award, so in that case you might be able to find a lawyer who would work on a "no win-no fee" basis. I don't know if LawyerinIzmir would work on that basis but you could ask, or find a lawyer who would.

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