What happens if I get arrested in Istanbul?

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The Turkish police are generally quite friendly to foreigners.  The most important thing is to be helpful and polite.  It's likely you will end up waiting a good long while because they will need to track down a certified translator in order to take your statement.  

You should call the US embassy or consulate.  Unlike the movies, they won't send anyone out, but they will have a list of lawyers to recommend.  You are subject to the laws of Turkey and the system can be bewildering, so get a good lawyer as soon as possible.  And remember, don't do drugs while you are there -- its not worth it.

I was never arrested, but after a serious car accident I did spend several hours at a police station.  And I after I lost my US passport, I had some troubel straightening out my visa, leading to a long visit to a different police station, where I was invited to stay until they could work out if I was an illegal immigrant.


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John McCarroll •London, United Kingdom

Irresponsible anthropologist and fiction writer. Used to be an expat in Istanbul. 

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