Turkey takes actions against taxi drivers in Istanbul for scamming tourists

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In recent months, the number of complaints put forward by tourists to Turkish authorities, among them tourists from rich Gulf states visiting Istanbul, have skyrocketed due to large-scale fraud by taxi drivers.

Turkish police and in an attempt to protect the city’s image as a safe touristic destination, launched a security operation in the neighborhoods of Istanbul.

The police and local authorities are seeking to question at least 120 taxi drivers accused of cheating and even misconduct with tourists.

Recently a taxi driver who allegedly overcharged and sexually harassed a Thai tourist in Istanbul’s Şişli district was detained, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet.

Units from Istanbul police’s traffic division identified the 32-year-old driver after footage purportedly showing his abusive behavior towards the female tourist started circulating on social media.

The Thai tourist claimed that she coincidentally took the taxi that she previously traveled with and whose driver overcharged her on a previous trip. Later on in a second trip which happened to be with the same taxi driver, she recorded what happened on her mobile phone. During the ride, the driver chatted with her and touched her hand twice.

When she was about to leave the vehicle at the end of the journey, the driver tried to overcharge her by asking her to pay more than what she would pay normally for the trip.

He was fined a total of 6,528 Turkish Liras ($ 1,190) for not using the taximeter and other violations of rules.

Also earlier this year, Turkish prosecutors in Istanbul demanded up to 10 years in jail for a taxi driver who cheated a Saudi tourist by unnecessarily extending a journey and thus charging him extra.

The prosecutors accused the taxi driver of committing “aggravated fraud.”

After the tourist opted to open a legal case against the driver, prosecutors demanded a jail sentence of between three and 10 years.

The driver has denied the charges, claiming that he got confused and took the wrong road to the intended destination of the Saudi tourist.