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Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Old Feb 20th, 2014, 04:17 AM
  #121  
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ATMs in Turkey are not very high risk for fraud or identity theft, however, one always needs to be careful.

The reason, ATMs just outside banks should be preferred, and also within banking hours is that, if for any reason the ATM swallows up your card, you can try to retrieve it immediately.


The reason I recommended cash payment for jewellery, gold and silver items is that international prices of those commodities are immediately reflected in the local prices and the merchant will include the bank charges for the credit card and the possible hard currency or gold price risk. If you pay cash USD this would be an additional negotiating point.

In fact, you should check the market prices of gold and silver before going shopping for items priced on that basis. Ask for gram weight of item, gram price and compare with the googled price and ask about the difference to find out why you are being charged so much for workmanship, overhead and profit because that is your negotiating margin.

Some honest jewellwers will tell you that they have to add 2.5 to 5% to the price if you are paying by credit card to cover the bank charges.
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Old Feb 20th, 2014, 04:25 AM
  #122  
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If you speak even a few words of Turkish, people will love it especially those not used to dealing with tourists.

The tauts and those dealing with tourists will also love it because it will give them more opportunities to talk to you and get you under their control.

The taxi drivers will be less likely to cheat you if they hear you say something in Turkish. beware the cabs at Sultanahmet and those who appear to be watching for tourists. All others, the airport cabs and especially those at the many neighborhood taxi stands are all very honest. Just make sure they all turn on the meter and that the meter starts at something like 2-3 Lira. Also, there are no additional charges for extra passengers in Turkey, and no difference between day and night charges. Tip to the nearest whole Lira or if you like as in New York.
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Old Feb 21st, 2014, 12:16 PM
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Thanks, OC. Great advice, as always!!
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Old Mar 11th, 2014, 02:04 PM
  #124  
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Should have posted this earlier today.

A young kid 14-15 leaving his home to buy bread during Gezi protests last June, was shot in the hear by a tear gas canister and had ben in a coma for 269 days. he finally succombed and died late last night.

Today, protests started early and gained momentum in over 20 cities.

There were protest marches at Taksim, beyoglu/istiklal, Nisantasi, Sisli, besiktas, Kadikoy in Istanbul, some of which are still on. Police have been very free with water cannon and tear gas, injuring a number of people runing ovcer three people, posibly blinding a reporter and arresting hundreds.

One municipal garbage truck and a public bus pulled across a street to make a barricade against the police near Nisantasi.

Lots of people hurt; song birds, pigeons, stray cats and dogs hurt or dead from tear gas and water with chemicals.

March 12 is the anniversary of some other atrocities against the people in Turkey so it is likely that protests will continue.

the funeral procession of the boy who died will start in the Morning and the ceremony will be about noon at an Alevite temple (not accepted as a temple by the Turkish authorities)

There are also specific marches and meetings planned for 15:00 hours at Sisli.

Some labour unions called for a strike of one day. Most university students are not attending classes. High School students are also active.

Under the circumstances :

1. No problems with flying into the country or out.
2. No problems with staying at Sultanahmet are (Old City)
3. No problems with transfers between Sultanahmet and IST airport.
4. I would check sea bus schedules from Yenikapi to Bostanci for transfers to SAW airport to be on the safe side or leave hotel with an extra 60 minute margin if taking taxi or shuttle.
5. No problems with Yenikapi ferryboats.
6. No problems with Bosphorus cruises.
7. No problems with visits to Asian side of the Bosphorus from Uskudar up to Beykoz and beyond.
8. Do not get to Kadikoy just in case.
9. If you are young and adventurous you may try crossing Galata bridge and taking old funicular to Tunel to see what's happening at Istiklal from the safe end.
10. No problem with flying to other airports, renting cars and driving to resorts, although I would avoid Izmir City, Antalya city and Fethiye city for the time being.
11. I will not advise driving to Gallipoli, Dardannelles from the European route.
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 09:21 AM
  #125  
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Current situatıon in Istanbul:

The coffin was picked up at 10 AM and taken to the Alevite temple for the funeral ceremony at 12:00 by upwards of 100,000.

The procession grew to one of the most crowded funeral processions Turkey has witnessed possibly reaching a million as it took over three hours for the coffin to be taken to the cemetary.

The procession wanted to move on to Taksim Square and Gezi Park to lay flowers in memory of the deceased after the burial.

However, the police started using force to disperse the crowd at possibly five or more places from Sisli to Taksim to Cihangir, using huge amount of water and a new form of chemical gas which is reported to cause loss of consciousness with some.

What was very peaceful became a violent affair with the police starting to attack not only protesters but also innocent bystanders, shoppers, workers, shopkeepers, etc. A number of large shopping malls, some hotels, large stores where people tried to seek refuge were also attacked by the police, sprayed with gas and people were arrested. many of the arrested were high school students. Reporters were shot at again, injured and arrested.

The former minister for EU relations called the funeral procession participants "necrophiliacs". Other government officials stated that the boy's death was as a result of the actions of protesters during Gezi Events.

Islamic fundamentalist supporters of the government tweeted that these people should be mourning the death of Palestinians, Moslem brotherhood members in Egypt and Assad opponents in Syria and not that of just an insignificant child who was probably asking for it.
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 11:42 AM
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What a sad situation,
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 06:09 PM
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Otherchelebi, What about today's demonstrations? Is this a one time event due to the young boy's death?
What are your thoughts on visiting Istanbul fairly soon? Thanks. HT
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 07:20 PM
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Thanks for keeping us up to date, other, and please - be safe!
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 05:42 AM
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Your on the ground reports, OC, and your broad understanding of the issues at stake, are invaluable. Many thanks for posting and updating. And yes, do stay safe.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 06:10 AM
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Thanks for these reports, OC. Such a tragic situation. Keep your head down!
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 08:08 AM
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Thanks for the updates OC. I'm arriving in Istanbul this Saturday, March 15 for a week. I'm hoping the protests die down but will appreciate any further updates and insights you may have.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 11:24 AM
  #132  
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belgazou,

I would keep away from Istiklal Street after 5 PM, just in case.

Otherwise streets are mostly back to normal, although the ruling party continues to provoke and agitate, possibly hoping for some ammunition for the coming local elections on March 30.

There are almost no middle-of-the-roaders left in the media. Most intellectuals and artists are openly and aggressibely against the government and the AKP has a small group of staunch supporters gathered around the TV Stations and newspapers controled by the government (60% of the total)

Strangely enough, all opinion polls still show AKP leading in the coming elections despite the documented and publicized corruption, the control of the judiciary the threat against use of the internet, the police brutality, the curtailment of personal liberties and human rights and the diplomatic mistakes.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 06:31 PM
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Thanks much for the advice, Otherchelebi. I appreciate your insights about the media and the elections. I wish you the best for a positive outcome in the elections.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 04:16 PM
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Hi, OC. Wow, sounds like things are a bit strained there right now? We arrive on Thursday, so is there anything else other than your comments above, that we should be aware of or alert to? We are so looking forward to experiencing your lovely homeland, we have read and heard so many positive things from others who have been recently.

A ways back up in this thread, you kindly gave me some great advice on exchanging money once we arrive. I did have a couple of additional questions, if you don't mind. Is it best to bring smaller denominations ($5/$10/$20 bills) as opposed to $100 bills? When we traveled to Ecuador last year, we were advised to bring smaller denominations and wondered if it was the same or not in Turkey?also, we will be at the Gulsoy, is there a good place nearby that will give us a decent exchange rate?

Again, thanks so much for all your helpful advice. I also sincerely hope the upcoming elections go favorably.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 07:57 AM
  #135  
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czarria60,

There is a great deal of campagning going on with large rallies, meetings and occasional small skirmishes between opposing groups, at locations of these rallies.

There are still some protest marches. The police are more violent than ever, flooding apartments and businesses where people appear to protest the Primeminister by banging on pots and pens or shouting, with water from mobile water cannons and even rushing in to arrest them on routes taken by the PM or his henchmen.

However, there is absolutely no violence or vandalism by the protesters who are not like the poor, under-priviledged, down-trodden masses as in Brasil, Pakistan, etc. We are talking of artists, writers, students, professionals, bureaucrats unionized workers, teachers, medical, engineering and bar association management board members, although there are also some extreme factions among them like the "Anti Capitalist Moslems".

None of the protesting groups are xenophobic or racist. Some may think that the United States and EU have supported the Primeminister until very recently and should be blamed for closing their eyes and ears to all the corruption and authoritarianism which has been increasing by leaps and bounds since 2002. However, the Turkish people are at least wise enough to separate government policies from the People's views., even if they appear to prefer a life of servitude to the current leader to a time where they will have to work hard but will have a say in their future.

Just recently, when 2000 university students marched to the mayor's office to protest a $0.10 bus fare hike, she dismissed all the riot police, walked among them to invite those who wished in to the municipal auditorium, explained why the price hike was necessary, listened to their wishes and agreed to support a low price studen cafe, which started operating within a month. And everyone went home satisfied. This mayor, from the opposing party is up fpr re-election now, and I hope she will win again.

re your other question:

I exchanged some USD today and also sold some gold. As before my investigation pointed me to FAHRET DOVIZ inside the Grand Bazaar. They wer buyin USD at 2.220 and selling at 2.222TL this is an incredibly tiny margin. The bank rates were 2.20 and 2.40 excluding commission. Other places ranges between these.

Any denomination is welcome. There is such a huge amount of foreign currency traded in the open market that the banks or the FX offices beg my pardon if they have to pay me in smaller than $100 bills.

The publicized telephone tap between the PM and his son included a rushed house cleaning of the son's home which left him with still 30milllion Euros in the afternoon, on the afternoon that the home of the son of Minister of the Interior was found by the police and DA (later removed from office) to contain seven very large safes, unspecified millions of $, Euros, TL and a money counting machine. I guess the judge who issued the search warrant has also been punished somehow.

You will see a very different Istanbul within a year or less if Sarigul the CHP candidate wins.
His NYE celebrations at Nisantasi, outdoor cafes, night life and quality of life improvements have been appreciated by many. At the same time, he has helped the poor in his district, extended help to earthquake zones outside istanbul, cared for the Christian and Gyspsy minorities as well as refraining any racist, sectarian, religious or nastionalistic remarks. He has erected statues, supported artist and has been a terrific PR person. He is saying all the right things about transportation, tourism, history, art, architecture, lifestyle, commerce without criticizing anyone or trying to bank on everything he has done as mayor of Sisli district.
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 02:54 PM
  #136  
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The Turkish PM managed to close down any and all access to Twitter from Turkey as of about 23:30 March 20. 2014, after informing his followers that he will erase Twitter from the face of the Earth no matter what anyone thinks, using all the power of the Republic of Turkey at a rally this afternoon.

I seem to remember that twitter has 15 Million members in Turkey, a country which is one of the top users of social media in the world, including FB, Instagram, etc.

CNN turkey has cancelled all other programs and are interviewing well known journalists, writers and other persons of significance. Even staunch supporters of the ruling party show sighns of surprise and consternation.

We may see some major protests as well as financial repercussion involving the stock market and FX rates tomorrow.

This ban on twitter places Turkey in the same group of countries as North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and China. I wonder if any and all of them will conduct "welcome to the club" ceremonies?
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 03:01 PM
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What a group to be a part of. Do you think other social media will eventually be shut down?
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 04:01 PM
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You guys are about ready for another military coup, I think.
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Old Mar 20th, 2014, 11:05 PM
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Seems that many are getting around the Twitter blockage by getting a different VPN, DSN and or IPN for their PCs, laptops, Iphones and ipads.

Even the Vice PM tweeted after the ban!!!!

People are joking about the ignorance of the PM and his courts and also about the possibility of sex videos of party bigwigs being released to the millions of Turkish Twitter users by the same sources which released the wire taps of Ministers and the PM pointing out their involvement in a series of corruption graft and money laundering activities.

It is too early to see any public or financial repercussions.
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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 01:46 AM
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It is interesting how the modern day leadership crazies first try to control and own the media, Berlasconi, Putin etc al
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