Victims of Crime

Major Emergencies

Step 1: Call the police directly in Turkey by dialing 155, or go to the police station (polis karakolu) closest to where the incident took place to file a police report.  
Step 2: Call the U.S. Embassy  at at +90 312 455 5555. An officer is on duty around the clock to respond to emergencies. We cannot come to the police station to serve as an interpreter.

Other emergency numbers in Turkey:

  • 112 – Emergency Hotline
  • 157 – Human Trafficking Emergency Helpline (or +90 312 157 1122)
  • 183 – Social Support Hotline. Responds to rape and sexual assault crises

Consular officers at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, the U.S. Consulate in Adana and the U.S. Consular Agent in Izmir are ready to assist U.S. citizens who are victims of crimes while in Turkey.  Officers may assist you in managing the practical consequences of being a crime victim and provide you with information about accessing the local criminal justice system, as well as other resources for crime victims abroad and in the United States.  The following information is provided for general information purposes only.  Regulations in Turkey may change, and may or may not be relevant to your particular case.  Questions involving interpretation of Turkish laws should be addressed to legal counsel licensed to practice law in Turkey.  The investigation and prosecution of a crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities.

Petty Theft, Minor Incidents, Stolen U.S. Passports

Step 1: Call the police directly in Turkey by dialing 155, or go to the police station (polis karakolu) closest to where the incident took place to file a police report.
Step 2: File a police report with the local police station and obtain a written copy to take with you.
Step 3: Report the theft of a U.S. passport online by clicking here.
Step 4: Make an appointment online for a new passport. Please do not call the U.S. Embassy in case of stolen wallets or passports. Consular officers are only able to process passport applications during normal business hours.   
Step 5: You may wish to contact others, such as family, your financial institutions, or insurance company, to report a theft.

  • Visa Global Customer Care: 1-800-847-2911
  • MasterCard Assistance Center: 1-800-307-7309 or call collect by dialing 1-636-722-7111
  • American Express:  1-800-992-3404 or call collect by dialing 1-336-393-1111

The Office of the Public Prosecutor authorizes forensic sexual assault exams in Turkey.  The police or gendarme takes the victim to the authorized government hospital.  According to Turkish law, the local police chief or another authorized officer must interview the victim in sexual assault cases. It is possible that the interview will be conducted by multiple officers.  As this exam is requested by the public prosecutor, no fee is paid by the victim.  Normally rape/sexual assault charges cannot be filed without an exam unless there is other supporting evidence.

The U.S. Embassy can provide you with a list of local doctors if you would like to get further treatment or tests.  Emergency contraception is available in Turkey at pharmacies and can be bought without a prescription.

Spousal rape is a crime under Turkish Criminal Code and the victim may file a complaint with the public prosecutor in order to start criminal procedures. In Turkey, there are no specific regulations on the protection of sexual assault victims.  The public prosecutor or judge may decide on specific protection depending on the case.  In these types of cases, generally the court closes the hearing to the public.

Domestic violence and child abuse are crimes in Turkey and should be reported to the police. A domestic violence hotline exists, and its phone numbers are +90-212-656-9696 and +90-549-656-9696.

Additional resources are listed below.  The agencies and organizations listed have not been vetted by the U.S. Department of State or any other federal agency.

  • Purple Roof Women Shelter Foundation is another organization that provides shelter for domestic violence victims.
  • International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies – Global list of abuse hotlines, shelters, refuges, crisis centers, and women’s organizations, plus domestic violence information in over 90 languages.  NOTE: The agencies and organizations listed on this international directory have not been vetted by the U.S. Department of State or other federal agency.
  • Learn Psychology – An excellent guide to understanding and preventing violence of all kinds.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs, and Consular offices in Turkey receive calls daily from U.S. citizens who are victims of scams.  Many times, the citizens do not realize that they have been scammed.  Use the online resources below to help identify common scams.  In general, if someone who you have never met asks you for money, you should not give them money until you have verified their claims in person.

Social Security Services is the responsible authority for the protection of children in Turkey. The Children’s Police assist local public prosecutors during the investigation.  Suspected child abuse can be reported by anyone who witnesses the abuse.  Doctors and psychiatrists are obliged to report any kind of child abuse to the public prosecutor.  An abused American child will be placed at the Society for the Protection of Children.  Social Services officers are the authorized persons for taking a child’s testimony.  A child’s testimony may be read during the trial process; however the child does not have to be present in the hearings or during any part of the trial process.

 

Turkey does NOT have a victim compensation program. The Turkish government does not provide monetary compensation to crime victims.  On a case by case basis, the court may order the perpetrator to pay restitution.  You may also file a civil suit for damages.

You may be eligible for victim’s assistance in the state in which you reside. Please see the following links to determine what resources might be available to you.

Reporting Crimes

Crimes should be reported to the police station (polis karakolu in Turkish)  or gendarmerie (in rural areas) in the judicial district, as soon as possible after the crime occurs.   Many police or gendarmerie stations will not have an English-speaking officer, and the procedures often take several hours.  You may also inform the Embassy or Consulate, yet consular personnel may assist you,  but cannot act as official translators or give legal advice.  Consult the list of attorneys to identify an English-speaking attorney.

If you are not able to report the crime in the same judicial district in Turkey where it occurred, you may go to the nearest Public Prosecutor Office to submit your complaint. The Public Prosecutor is required to take your report regardless of where the crime occurred in Turkey and regardless of your nationality or residency.

If you leave Turkey without filing a formal complaint but would like to file one later, you may type your statement, sign and send it to the Embassy or Consulate.  Consular officers will forward your complaint to relevant authorities for further investigation.

Investigations

In Turkey, crime investigations do not always result in the arrest of a suspect. The Office of the Public Prosecutor is responsible for investigating crimes.  After you file your report at the police or gendarmerie station, the public prosecutor might ask for forensic evidence such as your fingerprints or photographs.  You may be asked to go to a forensic doctor as well. Your lawyer, the Embassy, or the Consulate may assist by following the progress of the investigation.    According to Turkish Criminal Law, the first priority in each case is to collect evidence. There is no specific deadline for this stage of the case. If reasonable cause can be found through the collected evidence the public prosecutor may decide to detain or arrest the suspect. The initial custody period is generally no longer than 24 hours, although it can be extended to include the time spent to take the suspect to the authorized court or judge. Afterwards, the case may remain open depending on the evidence and the public prosecutor’s schedule.

Arrest

If your complaint results in an arrest, you may be asked to identify the perpetrator in person at the police station.  Once you identify the perpetrator, s/he will likely be detained until the trial.

Pre-Trial

Under Turkish law, the public prosecutor must file the case at the criminal court.  Local police officers assist the public prosecutors during the investigation period.  The purpose of the investigation is to verify a complaint and determine whether the facts constitute a criminal case. If the evidence supports the complaint, the public prosecutor files the case at the authorized criminal court. The Criminal Court of Peace, Criminal Court of First Instance, High Criminal Court and Criminal Division of the Supreme Court are authorized courts for criminal procedures in Turkey.  During the trial period suspects have the right to ask for a defense lawyer.  The suspect may retain his/her own lawyer, or the suspect may ask the court to appoint a defense lawyer

Trial

The duration of most trials is between 1 to 3 years.  Normally, all hearings are open to the public unless there is a court restriction.  The court can provide a sworn translator for foreign suspects.  There is no jury system in Turkish criminal law.  There are some traditions and rules concerning the hearings which differ from those in the United States.  For example, a judge may consider the behavior and attire of the suspect during the hearings when determining the penalty imposed.  Standing up when the judge enters the courtroom is commonplace in courts in Turkey.  The suspect or defending lawyer must ask the judge’s permission before making statements.

Sentencing

If the suspect is found guilty, the sentencing will start immediately after the decision is rendered. The victim will not be notified in case of transfer or release of the perpetrator.

Appeals

The accused has the right to appeal the court decision.  The appeal process varies from six months to a year (sometimes longer) in Turkey. During the appeal process, the accused is held in prison.

Attorneys

Local legal procedures differ from those in the United States, and local attorneys may assist victims or accused U.S. citizens in legal guidance.  Although the public prosecutor is responsible for prosecuting your case, an attorney can promote the client’s interests with the police and the court.  The list of attorneys who have expressed interested in representing U.S. citizens is available by following this link. Legal aid can be requested from the Turkish Ministry of Justice’s Legal Support System.