The findings of our recent burglary survey highlighted that contacting the local security services after a burglary due to language difficulties was a problem. So what should you do if you are burgled?
We have consulted with our friendly police source in Ankara to find out what we should do if we are burgled.
The standard thing is to dial 155 and say “Evime hırsız girdi”. Notice that the ‘i’ in ‘hırsız’ has no dot on it and is pronounced like the ‘u’ in ‘but’ – say ‘hursuz’. This literally means “A thief has been into my house”.
The person answering your call is highly unlikely to speak English so you won’t understand what s/he says to you next, but ignore it because you will then continue by stating your address clearly, in Turkish or course.
You could finish by saying “Hemen gel lütfen” which means “Please come at once”. Then hang up and, if the police don’t arrive within ten minutes, do the whole thing again.
Clearly this is not a very satisfactory way of getting the police out at a time when you are likely to be very distressed by what has happened.
A Better Solution
If you want to be able to phone the police confident that the person who answers your call will speak English – you need to do some ground work now before you need their services.
To do this go down to your local Police Station and ask to see the ‘Amir’ who is the person in charge of the station.
Go with your friends/neighbours if you aren’t confident about walking into the Police Station alone. Don’t be frightened to go into the Police Station, you will be welcomed.
The Amir will almost definitely speak English as he is 95% certain to be a graduate of the Police Academy in Ankara where English is part of the curriculum.
He will be pleased to see you, as part of his training has included the importance of good community relations with foreign residents.
He will offer you tea, and while drinking it you will explain your worries about being burgled, or recount what happened when you were burgled, and he will give you his mobile number for use next time you need the police.
While you are there take down the number of the direct line for the station, just in case his mobile is turned off when you need him.
If you are looked after by the Jandarma then the same post of ‘Amir’ is also employed.
So get down to the Police Station or your local Jandarma station and make friends with your local Amir.