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Kalkan Jandarma and crime report PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 August 2017

Kalkan JandarmaIt’s been a while since we wrote about crime in Kalkan and the work of the Jandarma.  Our last articles were in May and June.

We have just had a meeting with our new Jandarma chief in Kalkan and his commanding officer from Kaş and in this report we write about what has been keeping them all busy.

Some people think of Kalkan as a bubble - a perfect paradise where everything is sweetness and light.  The truth is that we live in the real world and whilst most of the time we are fortunate to have a carefree life, sometimes bad things happen.  We need local law enforcement here as much as you need it wherever you live.

Welcome to our new chief
Every four years or so we get a new Jandarma chief.  The previous one left in June and we have had a temporary person in charge over recent weeks.  Our new commander Ali Örnek took up his post this week.  He and his wife and two children have moved to Kalkan from his previous post in Mardin, in the east of Turkey.

Yesterday we met with our new chief to wish him well in his new role and to discuss a number of issues of interest to people in Kalkan.

Unlike larger towns and cities we don’t have a Police force.  Smaller towns and villages have a Jandarma presence.  They are a branch of Turkey's armed forces.  Our local Jandarma covers a huge area that encompasses not just the town of Kalkan with all its outlying parts, (Kalamar, Kışla, Ortaalan, Kızıltaş, Körderer, Kömürlük and Ulugöl) but also nearby villages such as Akbel, Islamlar and Bezirgan.  They have a lot of ground to cover.

Over recent months a few officers have been kept busy with GIYKIMBIL registrations.  This is to do with recently imposed regulations on short term rental properties.  Simply, if you rent out your Kalkan property for short term holiday purposes you must register with the Jandarma. 

Details of your guests must be submitted to the Jandarma on a daily basis.  Failure to do so will result in penalties.  A small number of property owners, both Turkish and foreigners have been fined over recent weeks for failing to follow the rules.  Please don’t get caught out.

Stolen items returned

We have written several reports on this subject in the past.  Even though there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Kalkan is blighted by intruders any more than other places, it is an unwelcome truth that we do suffer from this problem.

When we visited the new Jandarma chief yesterday he told us that three properties were recently broken into in the Kalamar part of town, but over recent weeks and months it would be fair to say that no area has escaped this type of incident.  A number of arrests have been made over recent weeks resulting in convictions and some stolen items have been returned to their owners.  It’s an ongoing battle.

Taking responsibility
From what we know from our time in Kalkan and especially since we started KTLN in 2009, break ins have always been a fact of life.  Usually they are small time petty criminals who are not particularly sophisticated in the execution of their chosen career.  Typically they come in to Kalkan from nearby places but occasionally they come from further afield.  

The vast majority of people who live or stay in Kalkan are not affected but if you are one of the unlucky ones this fact will be of cold comfort.  Over the years the Jandarma have responded to this problem with various initiatives, but as we have said many times they can’t be on every street corner 24 x 7, so property owners and individuals must take some responsibility for their own security.

The message from the Jandarma is that whilst they will do all they can, individuals must play their part.  If you have spent a large sum of money buying a villa it makes sense to invest in some security.  It does not have to be expensive.  Security systems and CCTV are getting cheaper and also smarter.   Good quality locks on doors and windows are a good start.

On a number of occasions KTLN has suggested that when looking to rent a holiday property in Kalkan it’s a good idea to ask what security is in place.  It's a question you could also ask of local hotels.  Arguably it’s more important than if there is WiFi or a sea view.  Property owners who care about the wellbeing of their guests take this subject seriously.

Violent crime
Thankfully violent crime is something that is exceedingly rare in Kalkan.  There are occasional disputes between local Turkish people that can flare up and things can get lively in town in the early hours of the morning after alcohol has been consumed, but by and large Kalkan is a safe place to be.  We consider the streets of Kalkan to be much safer than many places we could mention.

But as we alluded to earlier Kalkan is not some fictional nirvana.  In early July there was an incident in Kalkan that was as shocking as it was exceptional.  A family of three (mother, father and son) in a rented villa were woken by an intruder who broke in during the early hours of the morning. 

The father, acting instinctively to protect his family chased the intruder out of the villa, but in doing so was stabbed and sustained serious injuries.  Thankfully after a short time in hospital he and his family were able to return home.  The man is on the road to recovery in terms of the physical injuries sustained although there is still some way to go.  All three of them are still dealing with the psychological impact of the incident. 

The family has spoken to KTLN about their ordeal.  They have been coming to Kalkan for many years and have lots of friends here.  They have expressed their gratitude to the people of Kalkan who provided great support, and they are full of praise for the medical staff concerned in Antalya.  They are aware of the sensitivities involved in telling people about this incident as they love Kalkan but they are keen to raise awareness on a few issues.

Know what to do
Firstly they told us that in such a stressful situation it is difficult to remember what you should do.  They have suggested that even though you may be relaxing on holiday one of the things that people should do is have a plan or at least know where to get help.  People should consider what they would need to do in an emergency situation.  We agree with them.  That is why some time ago KTLN published a series of articles on what to do in certain emergency situations.  You can see those articles by clicking here.  Emergency advice from KTLN

We advise our readers to take a look.  Feel free to print off anything that you find useful.  If you rent out your villa why not include these details in your “information pack”.  We know that many property owners do provide helpful information in case of emergency but this needs to be kept up to date and must be readily available in an emergency situation.

The emergency number to call - 112
For information the emergency number in Turkey is 112.  This works exactly like 999 in the UK and can be dialled on any mobile phone or land line.  If you phone from Kalkan your call will be handled by the emergency switchboard in Antalya who will connect you to the local service you require (Jandarma, Police, Ambulance, Fire or Coast Guard).

Do bear in mind that whilst the central switchboard operators do speak English, the local emergency services may only speak Turkish.  If you are good friends with a Turkish person ask them if you can call them in an emergency and put their number in your mobile phone.

Travel insurance
The family involved in the July incident also wish to stress the importance of having a good travel insurance policy.  It may be tempting to go for the cheapest cover because nothing bad is ever going to happen to you is it?  That's what we all think but it is so important that you have a policy that meets your needs.  Check the small print and know what is covered and excluded. 

In this particular scenario we should stress that the family didn't go for the cheapest policy.  They did their research and looked online to find policies that were recommended but in their hour of need they felt abandoned and badly let down.  It demonstrates the difficulty that travellers face in identifying insurance companies that can genuinely deliver in time critical emergency situations.

We would welcome feedback from KTLN readers on travel insurance policies.  Let us know your experience if you have had to claim.

Jandarma advice
The Jandarma has asked us to tell you that if you are unfortunate enough to find intruders in your property please do not confront them or try to apprehend them.  Make lots of noise and turn on as many lights as you can.  Call 112.  Most intruders will try to leave as quickly as possible. 

Instinct is a powerful thing and this unfortunate incident has certainly made us think carefully about how we should deal with such a scenario.  It’s probably impossible to know for certain how you would react unless and until you are in that situation.

Kalkan JandarmaResponding to recent events
The Jandarma tell us that despite extensive enquiries they have not apprehended the person responsible for this violent crime.  There were video images from an adjacent property but unfortunately a positive identification was not possible.  It is their firm belief that he is not local and has left the area.

The Jandarma are now patrolling the streets of Kalkan during the night with officers in uniform and also in plain clothes.  Uniformed officers can be seen patrolling in Jandarma vehicles whilst plain clothed officers are in unmarked vehicles.

CCTV cameras
For some time now a number of us have been asking the Jandarma, the Belediye and the Kaymakam (governor) of Kaş if Kalkan can have Jandarma controlled CCTV cameras, such as they have in nearby Kaş and Fethiye.  The Jandarma tell us that they make a positive difference in both the prevention and detection of crime.

CCTVThe answer has always been the same - it’s a question of finance.  There has never been enough money to pay for a CCTV system.  We have been told that if we can raise a proportion of the cost in the community it may be possible, but we were talking about hundreds of thousands of lira.  We can now report that things have changed.

The senior commander of the Jandarma based in Kaş told us yesterday that the money has now been found in full and within the next two to three months Kalkan will have a high quality CCTV system with cameras positioned across all areas of Kalkan, including key roads and junctions.  The cameras will have number plate recognition capability.

Nobody is claiming that this will be a panacea but it provides the Jandarma with an important tool that they can use in the ongoing fight against criminals and it is a development that many people will welcome.

Other matters
We talked to the new Jandarma chief about problems caused by dangerous driving and bad parking, which could potentially lead to serious accidents.  The Traffic Jandarma do make regular patrols but their resources are limited.  We said that most people in Kalkan would welcome more patrols.

Traffic JandarmaWe discussed the need for properly marked and managed street parking overseen by parking attendants, such as they have in Fethiye.  We hope and expect this is something that the new chief will raise in future meetings with the local authorities.

We also discussed other matters which although minor in nature may be considered as things that impact on the quality of life here in Kalkan.  Things like noise and light pollution (late night noise and searchlights scanning the sky). 

The Jandarma chief said that rules are in place for noise pollution and that fines have been levied on offenders who play loud music or let off exploding rocket fireworks late at night.  Persistent offenders who repeat these type of offences can be reported to the local authorities and businesses risk having their licence to trade revoked.  If you are affected by noise pollution our advice is to report your concerns to the Jandarma.

Light pollution is a little more complicated.  Although it seems axiomatic that the sky belongs to all of us and not just a few bar owners, we get the impression that the Jandarma are powerless to do anything.  If anyone wishes to engage a lawyer to find out more please feel free to do so and let us know if there is a remedy.

Relax and enjoy your time in Kalkan
We wanted to end this report with an appeal for some perspective.  What happened in July was truly horrendous, but it is also exceptional.  To the best of our knowledge it is an unprecedented scenario in Kalkan.  We should not dismiss it but neither should we let it stop us doing what we want to do.  Kalkan remains a wonderful place to relax and chill out, and you will find the vast majority of people here friendly and welcoming.  

We wish to thank the family concerned for their help in writing this report.  We have personally wished them well as they continue to deal with the aftermath of their ordeal and we know that all KTLN readers will wish them a speedy recovery.


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Last Updated on Saturday, 19 August 2017