Victims of Crime

Major Emergencies

Step 1: Call the police directly in Turkey by dialing 155, or go to the police station 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, yet we cannot 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 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 or Consulate in cases 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 your family, 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 gendarmerie 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, the victim pays no fee. Normally rape/sexual assault charges cannot be filed without an exam unless there is other supporting evidence.

Review the 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 the 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.

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 services is the responsible authority for the protection of children in Turkey. The Children’s Police assist local public prosecutors during the investigation.  Anyone who suspects child abuse can report it to the police.  Doctors and psychiatrists are obliged to report any kind of child abuse to the public prosecutor.  An abused child may 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 and 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

Victims or witnesses of crimes should report them to the police station or gendarmerie (in rural areas) in the judicial district, as soon as possible after the crime occurs. Many police or gendarmerie stations may not have an English-speaking officer, and the procedures often take several hours.  You may also inform the Embassy or Consulate; consular personnel may assist you, but cannot act as interpreters 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.

Attorneys

Local legal procedures in Turkey differ from those in the United States, and local attorneys may assist victims or suspects in legal matters.  Although the Public Prosecutor is responsible for prosecuting your cases, 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.

Investigations

In Turkey, crime investigations may not always result in the arrest of a suspect. 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 your forensic evidence such as fingerprints or photographs. You may hire a to follow the progress of an investigation as well as inform the Embassy or Consulate.  Based on the circumstances, investigations may be lengthy, and based on the evidence the Public Prosecutor will decide to detain or arrest the suspect.

Arrest

Current Turkish law allows authorities to detain subjects for several days during an investigation, before an official arrest warrant is issued.  If you are a victim or witness to a crime, the police may ask you to identify the suspect.

Pre-Trial

Once making an arrest, authorities in Turkey may hold suspects prior to a trial.

Trial

Duration of criminal trials in Turkey can be lengthy, many last between one to three years.  Normally, all hearings are open to the public unless there is a court restriction.  The court can provide an interpreter 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

Courts normally hand down the sentence, if there is a guilty finding, in the same hearing it announces the verdict. Turkish law stipulates that courts notify victims in the case of transfer or release of the accused.

Appeals

The accused has the right to appeal the court decision. The appeal process can be lengthy, and depending on the circumstances, the accused may stay in prison during the appeal process.