29 Temmuz 2011 Cuma

Miniskirt and Bikini-clad Tourists Big Dig Distraction

distraction links to original article

(Sabah Newspaper, 29 July 2011)

Tourists coming to the Myra-Adriake excavation at Demre in shorts and
bikinis are causing distractions so work hours have been changed.

The excavation activity begins at 5 in the morning and a break is given to
workers during the hours when tourist traffic is heaviest. Excavation chief
Prof. Dr. Nevzat Çelik explained that 'it would be very dangerous for the
attention of the operator of a five-ton winch to be distracted while he's
lifting giant rocks and columns. Tourist girls wearing miniskirts and bikinis
come into the excavation area to take pictures. If a worker's concentration
is distracted there could be an accident at any time.'

The excavations at Myra-Andriake in Antalya's Demre district are entering
their third season and 500,000 tourists per year come to see the Myra
Antique Theater excavation. Dr. Çelik noticed that workers using tractors
and winches to move rocks weighing hunreds of kilograms were eyeing
Russian tourists so he decided to change the work hours. Continuing, Dr.
Çelik stated that 'excavation work starts at 9 AM and we used to give the
workers a lunch and nap break between 12 and 1 PM. Now we've changed
it to 12-5 PM in consideration of the hours when there's the most tourist
traffic. We start the work again at 5 PM and the 100-strong excavation
team, 30 of whom are day-workers, work until sunset.'

This arrangement was decided upon to minimize workers' distraction and
to avoid working during the hottest hours of the day, according to Dr. Çevik,
who added that the excavation team member have to have their wits about
them.  He stated that every excavation can arrange its work hours based on
its own season but he doesn't look kindly on the idea of foreign tourists
coming into excavation areas that are not yet museums. Dr. Çevik reiterated
that there must be no distractions when rocks weighing thousands of
kilograms are being lifted, saying 'the tourists generally come in miniskirts
and shorts. Some even wear bikinis. They distract the work and this must
not happen in consideration of job safety.'

28 Temmuz 2011 Perşembe

'Dalton Bros.' Shoot Fish in Barrel for Gold

daltons links to original article

(Sabah Newspaper, 28 July 2011)

A gang that hoodwinked two merchants and a jeweler in a fraud triangle it
set up has been captured. The gang's interesting method will be taught in the
police academy under the name 'Shooting Fish in a Barrel'.

Istanbul police have captured a gang that defrauded rural merchants with a
three-stage method given the name 'Shooting Fish in a Barrel'. The logic the
gang followed was 'buy someone else's goods with someone else's money
and disappear.' The police saved seven merchants from losing 500,000 TL
to the gang at the last moment. The interesting technique, though, will be
taught as a lesson to police taking a course in financial crimes.

Istanbul Financial Crimes Police set up a special team when complaints
about 'fraud' were received from rural merchants, in particular. After a year
of tracking the gang the team deciphered their modus operandi. Although the
gang, which calls itself 'The Dalton Brothers', has been in the market place
for ten years and defrauded tens of people, they had not been caught.
The reason for this was the extreme importance they gave to communications

The Dalton Brothers' method was comprised of three stages: find, do, take.
Accordingly, they first found rural merchants operating in various sectors
such as construction materials, iron, plastic, sacks, sugar, fertilizer, food oil,
paint, or cables. The gang members would call the merchant and make an
offer to the effect that 'we have materials left over from a bid that we're
selling for very low prices.' When the merchant agreed the gang told him to
'wait for word on pick up.'

In the second phase, 'do', the gang found a merchant that dealt with the goods
in question and placed an order. They then called the first merchant and told
him 'your goods are ready. Come to such and such a warehouse and pick
them up.' The second merchant was then given the name of the driver who
would pick up the goods and the plate number of his truck. As the loading
was underway, the gang hoodwinked the first merchant, saying that 'we've
learned hard lessons by experience. Your goods are being loaded and the
waybill invoice is ready. We're also involved in the jewelry business and
that's where our account is so please send the money to this account.'

Since everything seemed to be going well, the merchant didn't see any
problem with sending the payment. This is when the plan moved to stage
three, when a player that wasn't involved in the first two stages was brought
in - a jeweler. The gang would tell the jeweler 'I live where you're located
and we're having a wedding. We need gold fast but I'm out of the province
right now. Can I send you the money via electronic transfer?  My driver
will come and get the gold.' Upon receiving the payment from the first
merchant the jeweler turned over the gold to the gang.

At this point, the second merchant, realizing that he was providing materials
but not receiving payment, would stop the loading process and minimize his
loss. But the first merchant would call the owner of the account he sent the
money to, saying 'I gave you money, where are my goods?'. The jeweler
would then tell him that 'I got the money and I turned over the gold.' Upon
hearing this the first merchant would realize that he had been duped but
the gang members, having obtained the gold upon completion of stage
three, would have by this time disappeared. The victim of all this was the
first merchant.

After the finalization of the work done by the Financial Office's special team,
a raid was conducted on the addresses where the gang members were
staying. Gang leader Mahmut Çelik was taken into custody, along with Yahya
Kırlangıç, Hacı Huti Çelik, Tarkan Çekin, Savaş Dindar, Mehmet Savan,
Abdulhamit Çelik and Yaşar Zengin. In a search conducted at the culprits'
homes 45 cellphones, 12 computers, hundreds of SIM cards and archives
of information about merchants were seized.

Gang leader Mahmut Çelik and seven gang members were incarcerated after
processing at police headquarters. They were so sure of their fraud methods
that they asked the police 'how did you figure us out?'

It has been learned that the gang's 'gain one's confidence and bilk him' tactic
and how the gang was caught will be taught to police undergoing a course
about financial crimes. The lesson will be given the name 'Shooting Fish in a

The gang members used separate cellphones for each fraud operation and
would never revisit the same neighborhood where one of their victims was
located. Over the last month the gang  duped three rural merchants out
of 150,000 TL with this method. But when one considers that they have
been operating in the market place for ten years the amount of fraud surely
must have exceeded one million TL.

As police prepared for the operation they determined that seven rural
merchants had been targetted by the gang. Careful not to let the gang know
that they were aware of their 500,000 TL fraud, the police made discreet
contact with the merchants. But the merchants were convinced that they
had a real opportunity to get goods cheaply and they didn't want to believe
the police. Only after great efforts by the Financial Office police were the
merchants convinced and saved from bilking.

Candy From Babies: How Could I NOT Bilk These Idiots?

fools links to original article

(Sözcü Newspaper and Haber365 Internet Site, 26 July 2011)

Anti-pickpocket and fraud teams from the Adana police department received
a tip that a person at a store on Ziyapaşa Boulevard was bilking citizens by
promising them work in exchange for money. The police determined that the
person in question was prison escapee Mehmet C. (29) and they took him
into custody when they raided his house.

Mehmet C. was identified by complainants and admitted to the crime. He
said that he rented the store on Ziyapaşa Boulevard, hired a secretary and
let on to those around him that he was running a construction company.

In his statement, Mehmet C. said that he put a hiring advertisement in
national newspapers and got 5,000 applications in a month and a half. He
noted that he received money from half the applicants and spent it on
enjoying himself. In fact, Mehmet C. said that from one applicant in particular
he received 1,000 TL for the promise of a job.

Mehmet C. asked for the following amounts from applicants for his imaginary
jobs: cleaners - 25-35TL; doormen - 50-75TL; drivers - 300-500TL.
Mehmt C. said that he had been previously arrested for fraud and sent to
Bolu Prison. He confessed that it was there that he met another criminal who
explained to him the ruse of putting a hiring advertisement in the newspaper.

So far 40 people have filed comlaints against Mehmet C. After his interrogation
at police headquarters he was being transferred to jail when he told newspaper-
men 'I bilked 5,000 people. What am I supposed to do when there are so
many idiots in this country? I'm not to blame.'

26 Temmuz 2011 Salı

Neighbors Eye Turkey's Bugs and Butterflies

bugs links to related article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 13  June 2011)

Six Czech citizens who were trying to smuggle out insects they collected from
various regions of Turkey have been captured at the Kapıkule Customs Area
passengers hall. A search of the culprits' car turned up a total of 6,014 insects
of 48 species such as lady bugs, flies, bees and cicadas hidden in boxes. The
bugs were collected in the north of interior Anatolia and the Black Sea region
and had been killed and stocked in containers soaked in ethyl acetate. The
value of the insects was said to be 500,000 TL.

Customs teams prevented the smuggling out of  more than 5,000 plant seeds
and seedlings during an operation conducted last month. According to
Customs experts, efforts to smuggle out bugs and plants endemic to Turkey
have increased in recent years. The latest operation by Customs involved
the largest insect smuggling attempt ever.

butterfly links to original article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 12 June 2011)

Villagers in the rural area of Yusufeli district of Artvin province noticed two
people collecting butterflies and insects and informed the Gendarmerie.
After looking at the photographs and images taken by the villagers the
Gendarmerie went into action. Russian citizens Elena and Artur Shnip
were taken into custody along with the 650 butterflies and bugs in their

Elena and Artur Shnip were interrogated at the Yusufeli Gendarmerie
Command and their nets, tweezers, plastic bags and holding containers
were seized. After their statements were taken the two were delivered
to the Artvin Police Directorate's Foreigners Office for deportation. The
butterflies and bugs were turned over to the Yusufeli National Parks

24 Temmuz 2011 Pazar

Death by Ice Cream, Almost

icecream links to related article - and pictures!!

(Sabah Newspaper, 17 July 2011)

In Kadirli district of Osmaniye province a 300 kilogram block of ice cream
was produced by a store owner and raised by a winch as a publicity stunt.
However, when the block melted because of the hot weather it fell onto a
car below. The event was held near Dr. Hüseyin Kabasakal Park in the
Savrun neighborhood where citizens and guests watched in amazement as
the ice cream block crashed into the car, causing severe damage.

21 Temmuz 2011 Perşembe

Of Orgies and Batman at Turkish Airports

orgy links to original article

(Sabah Newspaper, 18 July 2011)

The name for the airport that will serve Ordu and Giresun in the Black Sea
region has been changed 17 years later. The Transportation Ministry, which
had named the airport Or-Gi by taking the first two letters of Ordu and
Giresun, has changed it because it sounds too much like the English word
'orgy' which means a wild sex party with lots of singing and drinking. The
airport's new name is Ordu-Giresun.

The project began when Ordu and Giresun requested an airport in
connection with the airport campaign of the 1990's, which was launched
with the slogan 'an airport for every province.' Like in Trabzon, the airport
for Ordu and Giresun will be constructed by filling in the sea and will
serve both provinces. But an argument erupted with regard to the name
when the people of Ordu wanted the airport named Ordu and the people
of Giresun wanted the same thing. The argument was settled when the
Transportation Ministry decided on a joint name that combined the first
two letters of each province's name.

Finally, after sitting on the shelf for years, the Or-Gi Airport Project was
begun and the contract for construction was won by the Cengiz-IC Içtaş
partnership. The airport will be built at Gülyalı, which is 19 kilometers from
Ordu and 25 kilometers from Giresun, and will enter service in 2014. The
name of the airport, which had been changed to Or-Gi to settle the argument,
was changed again to Ordu-Giresun prior to the project being opened for
bids. It turns out that behind this change lies a very interesting coincidence.

The Transportation Ministry was concerned that the name might be
misunderstood since it would of course be seen in international sources. The
thinking was that Or-Gi would be pronounced like the English word 'orgy',
which was the word used for the group-sex parties of the gods of
ancient Greece that involved lots of singing and drinking. The word has come
to be the modern reference for such parties and goings-on. So that's why
the Ministry changed the name to Ordu-Giresun Airport.

Local names given to airports have caused some problems in the international
arena. Previously, an English newspaper reported that the Turks 'had given
the name Batman (after the comic book character) to an airport', when it
was in fact the name for the airport at Batman, Turkey.

12 Temmuz 2011 Salı

Treasure Hunters Turn on Their Own

treasure links to original article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 11 July 2011)

Around noon yesterday, a group digging for treasure in Beyice village of
Bilecik tied the hands and feet of one of their own, Ali Sait Özdemir, and
shouted 'you found the treasure without telling us! Where's the gold?'  The
group threw Özdemir in the trunk of the car and sped off. But while in the
trunk Özdemir was able to take out his cellphone and call police. He told
them 'two cars with 34 (Istanbul) plates have kidnapped me. They put me
in the trunk of one of the cars. Right now they're heading for Bozüyük
district' and pleaded for help. Police were able to stop the car on the
Bilecik-Bozüyük road.

Mustafa Er, Engin Erkan, Zafer Taştan and Halil Çırak, who were in the
car, were arrested. Özdemir was taken to the Bilecik State Hospital for
treatment from the wounds inflicted by his captors. In his statement
Özdemir said that 'we were digging for treasure. Because of something
I had to do I left Bilecik for a while. My friends thought that I had found
the treasure and ran off. But I didn't find the treasure.' Police stopped
the other car on the Bilecik-Osmaneli road and took Ayhan Çırak, Ömer
Çırak, Ersin Cırak and Erdem Çırak into custody.

Fancy Nightclub's Meat and Whiskey Cleaned Out

meat links to original article

(Sabah Newspaper, 11 July 2011)

Janitor Yılmaz Barış, who works at one of Istanbul's most elite nightclubs,
Sortie, was caught after having stolen 5,250 kilograms of frozen meat from
the club's warehouse. Finding the warehouse key on Barış, club officials
took inventory and found that 50 bottles of whiskey were missing too. Club
bodyguards manhandled Barış, about whom charges were filed and a request
made for a sentence of nine years in prison.

According to an indictment prepared by the Istanbul prosecutor, Barış (37),
who works as a cleaner in the famous nightclub in Ortaköy, Beşiktaş,
somehow got hold of the warehouse keys and stole 5,250 kilograms of
frozen meat. On 26 June, club manager Rahmi Okçuoğlu saw that Barış
was loading the meat into the trunk of a vehicle but after Barış explained
that he had found the meat in the trash Okçuoğlu took no action. A day
later club workers found a key whose upper portion had been filed down
on Barış and determined that this key opened the warehouse door.

Police were called to the scene and yet another key for the warehouse
door was found in the trunk of Barış's car. An inventory of the warehouse
was conducted and 50 bottles of whiskey were found to be missing.
When the incident was discovered club workers Erol Gir and Ercan
Avcılar beat up Barış.

The prosecutor is looking for a sentence of from four to nine years in jail
for the cleaning worker's theft and four months to a year in jail for
Gir and Avcılar who pummeled Barış. Court proceedings for all the
suspects will begin in the coming days.

11 Temmuz 2011 Pazartesi

'Follow Us' is Dead End for U.S. Tourist

sahaila links to original article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 10 July 2011)

Three weeks ago American Sahaila T. came to Istanbul on vacation, where
she claims five thousand dollars and a gold necklace were stolen from her.
Sahaila identified the suspects from Florida via webcam. She thanked the
police and said she would come to Turkey again for vacation.

Sahaila T. is a skin specialist in the U.S. state of Florida and she arrived in
Istanbul on 14 June for a vacation. Sahaila rented a car, toured the city and
on 25 June she came to Taksim Square where she changed 600 dollars
into Turkish Lira. At this time, her wallet fell to the ground and 5,000
dollars sprayed all about. While trying to collect the money Sahaila had a
fight with her boyfriend. She then began to drive around in the car but soon
became lost. According to her claim, Sahaila drove up alongside a car with
Selçuk E. and Kadir T. inside and asked them 'how do I get to Taksim?'
They replied 'follow us.'

A while afterwards, Selçuk T. got out of his car and into Sahaila's car.
Based on the tourist's claim, Selçuk E. calmed the distraught woman and
started to show her the way. Ten minutes later they came to a dead end,
at which time the suspects took a gold neclace from Sahaila's neck and
her wallet containing 5,000 dollars. While one suspect left, Kadir T.
stopped at an ATM, withdrew 100 TL and gave it to Salaihla but a bit
further on a struggle erupted between the two and the car went out of
control at Kağıthane, rolling over four times.

Kadir T. was injured but was able to run away from the accident scene.
Sahaila was treated  and went to the Kağıthane police station to file a
complaint against the two robbers. She returned to Florida two days
later while police searched through 95 pictures from the ATM camera.
Taxi driver Selçuk E. was arrested at home and car repairman Kadir T.
was taken into custody at his work place.

The Kağıthane police used technology to have Sahaila identify the suspects.
They put a webcam in the police station's suspect identification room,
established a connection with Sahaila and began a video discussion. She
identified the suspects via the webcam hook-up. Selçuk E. was arrested
and Kadir T. was released.

9 Temmuz 2011 Cumartesi

Shoot the Onion, Not the Groom

onion links to original article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 8 July 2011)

In Eskil district of Aksaray province, Erdal Altan (25) kidnapped his
girlfriend Makbule Erkol (23). Based on this fait accompli the families
decided to have a wedding. So the day before yesterday the groom's
relatives, in accordance with tradition, put an onion on the 5-meter
flagpole where the Turkish flag was flying in front of their house and
asked guests to try to shoot it down. The winner would receive a gift
from the groom's mother.

One of the guests, H. Hüseyin Yalvaç (23), took two shots at the onion
with his pump-action rifle but the weapon then jammed. Yalvaç pointed
the gun toward the ground and it went off accidentally, with buckshot
hitting groom Erdal Altan and his cousin Cevdet Yalvaç in their legs and
stomachs. Both of the injured were taken to the hospital while H. Hüseyin
Yalvaç was taken into custody.

8 Temmuz 2011 Cuma

Snejana Drives Imam Wild

snejana links to original article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 7 July 2011)

Veli Özsorun (29), who serves as the imam in Aydınköy in the Güzelyurt
district of Northern Cyprus, turned the mosque where he works into a
billboard when a Russian girl named Snejana whom he met three years ago
wouldn't reciprocate his love for her. In order to announce his love for
Snejana to the public, Özsorun wrote on the mosque's entrance and walls
asking Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Northern Cyprus's
famous Nakşibendi Sheikh Nazım Kibrisi to be his wedding witnesses.

The young imam stated that he wanted to marry for platonic love, writing
'I want the woman I love. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Sheikh Nazım
will conduct my wedding, God willing. Am I lying? (Turkish President)
Abdullah Gül is invited too. Note: do you know this religion better than
Sheikh Nazım?' 

The Office of Religious Affairs has started an investigation about the crazed
lover. Residents of Aydınköy said that Veli Özsorun, who has been the imam
in the village for seven years, began to act strangely after meeting Snejana.

6 Temmuz 2011 Çarşamba

Gladiator Says He Got a Bad Call

gladiator links to related article

(Hürriyet Newspaper, 21 June 2011)

//ed. note: yet another of our blog's occasional history-related items//

Canadian professor Michael Carter had uncovered some interesting details
about a gladiator battle that took place in Anatolia about 1800 years ago.
The Ottoman government had given the grave stone of a gladiator named
Diodorus of Samsun as a gift to the Cinquanternaire Museum in Brussels
prior to World War I. The inscription on the stone reads: 'Even after my
opponent Demetrius fell I didn't kill him. But fate and a mistake by the judge
(suma rudis) killed me.'

Professor Carter, who tries to determine the secrets of grave stones, said
in a statement given to the internet site Live Science that he has studied
hundreds of gladiator grave stones 'but this one is different because it
contains a story.' The grave stone depicts two gladiators, one standing and
the other on the ground. Demetrius, on the ground, is making a gesture to
the sword-weilding Diodorus of surrender and an appeal for mercy.

Carter stated that there were certain rules concerning gladiator fights and
in his opinion the story is as follows: Diodorus took the advantage when
he threw his opponent Demetrius to the ground during their fight. But
Diodorus conformed to the rules by not killing Demetrius, who asked for
mercy. At this point the judge (suma rudis) should have stopped the fight
and declared Diodorus the victor. This did not happen though and a
decision in favor of Demetrius was given, allowing him to get up and
continue the fight. As the battle went on, Diodorus fell on his own account,
not because of any attack by Demetrius. In accordance with the rules,
Diodorus should have been allowed to get up and continue but the judge
again ruled in favor of Demetrius and gave permission for him to kill

In all likelihood, Diodorus's relatives had the unlucky gladiator's last words
written on the grave stone. This story, which emerges from the Anatolian
soil that was under the rule of the Roman empire thousands of year ago,
calls to mind the whining of today's footballers we often hear with regard to
referee's decisions.

Stupid Criminals? Not These Guys

smartcrooks links to original article

(Sabah Newspaper, 21 June 2011)

In Istanbul, a gang that made spare keys for the cars they rented and then
put GPS devices in the cars to track and steal them later, has been cracked.
The gang of six people systematically committed car theft by first renting a
car and having copies of the car's key made. The gang placed GPS devices,
which track an object using satellites, in the rented cars and returned them to
the rental company.

Once the car was rented by another person the gang went into action,
ultimately stealing 14 cars by this method. The gang got rid of the stolen cars
by either selling them or cutting them up. The cars they sold still contained
the GPS device though, so they stole the same car again from the purchaser.
Then they sold these cars once more.

Officials from the Istanbul Police Car Theft Bureau tracked the gang by
technical means for two months and conducted simultaneous raids in Istanbul
and Şanlıurfa, taking eight people into custody. Hasan Hüseyin Erten (29),
Kemal Dündar (29), Murat Özen (29), Hayri Güzeloğlu (30), Yusuf Yiğit
(43) and Halil Çiftci (49) were sent to the Ümraniye Jail after their processing
was completed at the police station. Two people about whom no criminal
findings were uncovered were released. As the result of the operation, 13
stolen vehicles, one pair of stolen license plates, quite a lot of car parts taken
from the stolen vehicles and one Ecstacy pill were seized. There were 16
total car theft incidents that were the subject of the police operation.