Facing Arrest in Turkey
I was surprised to see an SUV switch lanes and pull in a few yards in front of me. I hadn’t been even looking at the traffic never mind thumbing as I walked along-side the main road from Istanbul to Silivri. It wasn’t a motorway but the traffic still had been speeding by quickly for the last hour.
I stopped by the window of the SUV, a fella alone probably in his mid-thirties with a tidy beard and serious yet friendly face, he wasn’t on the phone he had pulled over to offer me a lift even though I hadn’t signalled him.
Some people are just on the look-out in life for chances to be sound human beings I reckon and I love it when they spot me on the road.
He nodded in reply so I opened the back door and wedged my rucksack in between the passenger seat and the rear seat. Then I left my tent-bag, camping-bed-bag and my plastic-bag with food and water on the empty child’s car seat in the back.
There was the obvious language barrier between myself and himself but he gathered I was Irish and hitchhiking to Bulgaria via Edirne.
He brought me further than Silivri to a busy crossroads near Corlu where I had to jump from the car in a hurry since he wasn’t allowed to pull-over. I grabbed my rucksack plus the bags from the child’s seat quickly and let them drop to the ground as he took off again. When I looked down I felt the blood drain from my head.
“Shit, how the fuck?, o no”
I could see the guys fanny pack, you know them sort of wallets that tie around your waist on the ground with my bags. It must of been on the child’s car seat and had fallen out when I pulled my bags out in the hurry to get out of the car.
Might aswell see what’s inside sure I thought as anyone would.
About €320 in Turkish Lira, the guys driving license, some prescription medicine and a set of keys. Well that’s enough to land me jail time in these Muslim countries I figured. A loaf of bread or a car? Isn’t all the same to Muslims I thought once you steal then your a thief and you get fucked into some overcrowded jail for years.
Arrested in Turkey.
I can’t go a year without a bacon sandwich I nearly cried.
I wasn’t thinking rationally in my mini panic.
OK lets sort this mess out I thought, one things for certain is I can’t hang around here. I got to move, if he realises his wallet is gone and comes back here then he will probably just drive straight into me, or at least get the police involved.
No way will the police believe some smelly hitchhiker with about €100 to his name accidentally robbed the law abiding citizen by accident. How can I explain myself anyway without Turkish?
I had to get out of here fast, then make a plan.
I began thumbing immeditaly and the third car to pass pulled over, thankfully hitchiking in Turkey isn’t difficult.
I jumped into the back of the old Citroen Xsara, there was two local guys in their twenties in the front who spoke English, it took me a second to regiister the potent smell of marijuana because of my panic.
“Where you from my friend?”
“Aww, nice. You want a smoke?”
Just to calm the nerves I thought, then a plan will come to me. Weed dosent get offered to me that often when hitchhiking but what a potentially disastrous time this could be for a joint to be passed around.
We talked for a bit then the guys pulled over at a petrol station, they wouldn’t go further. I ended up explaining the situation to them.
“Fuck it man, do what anyone else would do and keep the money. Sell the ID to some fucking Syrian”
“But he knows I’m Irish and on my way to the Bulgaria border, supposing he called the cops then I can’t get out of the country because the border police will be waiting on an Irish hitchhiker”
“Shit your right, hmmm well don’t go to the border then just, well fuck I can’t help I’m stoned man. Don’t leave the country for a few days, just disappear for like a week. Don’t go to the police either, they won’t understand you and will definitely put you in a cell tonight, that story won’t check out with them man. Turkish police are shit they can sometimes be bastards. Good luck though”
“I can’t keep the money of someone who offered me a lift too, I’m not a suspicious person but that would be completely shitting on Karma. Thanks anyway for the lift”
I began hitchhiking again and got collected soon in a small hatchback. The guy looked like a young father and a good guy. Don’t you know when you see a guy and just know that he’s an honest, decent guy, well an honest, decent Muslim will always try to help anyway they can.
“Hey do you speak English”
Good a plan had come to me by now.
“I have a problem”
I explained everything right from the beginning and he (Givi) believed my story about the accident. Now I wanted to find the man who owned the wallet on Facebook using Givi’s phone to find out if he had contacted the police yet.
Givi found him on Facebook using the drivers license and messaged him in Turkish asking for his number, no reply though.
Givi then rang the doctor who wrote out the prescription for drugs in the wallet. The nurse provided a contact number he could use.
The man’s wife answered the phone and Givi chatted for some time. The police had been contacted, the border police at Bulgaria were aware of my Nationality and description. She said however that her husband had remarked to her that he wasn’t sure if I was a thief. We needed to go to the nearest police station and her husband would clear my name.
First though we had some Chai (Turkish Tea) then went to the police.
They didn’t quite like my story, there was four of them in the station, luckily they only spoke to Givi. I became uncomfortably aware that there might be a smell of weed off me too so I kept my distance.
When the wallet owner did call and declare the inventory of the wallet and exact amount of money it matched up perfectly with the contents of the wallet. He told the police he believed I made an accident too and they did clear my name.
They had actually been driving the roads I hitchhiked looking to arrest me!
Givi dropped me off near the main road and I hitchhiked one more lift to Edirne before camping there. I will forever be grateful to that guy, I couldn’t of gotten out of that messy situation where I had no Turkish or internet without his help. All I had was my word that the wallet had been an accident and he believed me.