In general, the answer for the popular question “Is Bodrum safe?” is a big “Yes it is!” Turkey is one of the safest places in the planet but that does not mean individual incidents can’t happen. They can, like in any other country in the world.
There are a lot of security units working around the clock to keep you safe. Uniformed and undercover police force, traffic polices, gendarme (rural police), coastal security officers, firemen and zabita (municipal police) work together in coordination to maintain a safe haven both in rural and urban areas.
More or less they have a similar job description all over the world; maintaining public order. They are an armed force operates under the command of The Ministry of Internal Affairs.
If there is a criminal act like robbery they are the ones to report. On the other hand, traffic polices are responsible from the safety of the traffic flow and order. I know there are many undercover officers working on the crowded streets as well.
Generally speaking, they catch the bad guys and protect the good guys. If you need their help or want to report any disturbance, you can call police hot line, “155”, for free from all land lines and mobiles 7/24.
They are the ones make it possible to say “yes” for the question “Is Bodrum safe?”
Gendarme is responsible for the public security in the rural areas where police does not cover. Like police forces, they are also armed and operate in coordination with the other security units, mainly police forces.
Gendarmes are not civilians like polices. They are soldiers trained for rural operations. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them when visiting an ancient touristic site like Ephesus or trekking on the mountains. Their operations are coordinated by both Turkish Armed Forces and The Ministry of Internal Affairs.
If you are in a gendarme area and in need of their service, the emergency gendarme phone is “156” and like all emergency numbers it is free to call from every mobile or land line.
The security on the territorial waters is provided by The Turkish Coast Guard Command. It is a law enforcing armed force. Their mission is to ensure the safety of life and property within their area of maritime jurisdiction. The Coast Guard notification and request phone line is “158”. The number “+90 312 158 0000” is also available for international and open-sea calls.
If you are planning to sail in Turkey, you can also visit Google Play to download the Android application provided for free. Search for “Turkish Coast Guard Command” and download the application in to your smart phone or tablet.
Fire departments are sub units of the municipalities. They respond any fire threat within the municipality’s jurisdiction. In Bodrum, the fire station is next to the Bodrum Intercity Bus Terminal. If you need any help or would like to report a fire, call the emergency number “110”.
You know, I sometimes complain about the bureaucracy in Turkey. Here comes another one. If it is a forest fire you would like to report, then you need to call “177”. The forest fires are General Directorate of Forestry’s responsibility and they have their own hot line.
What if you call the municipality to report a forest fire? I honestly don’t know. But I believe someone from the municipality would call 177 to report the fire instead of telling you “sorry, wrong number”. It should be that way, right?
Zabita is a municipal police. Each municipality has its own Zabita organization. Their primary responsibility is to protect the municipality services. What is important for us in Bodrum is that they audit the order and cleanliness of bazaars, shops, restaurants and bars.
Let’s say somebody is too much insistent and passionate to sell you something, or a stallholder in the bazaar is asking too much money for the goods, Zabita’s role is to make sure that this is not going to happen again.
You can reach them via a nation-wide toll-free number: “153”.
All of the above armed and unarmed units work under heavy conditions for us to be able to say “yes” for the common “Is Bodrum safe?” question. Still, the main responsibility is on us. Keep your valuable things in a safe place, stay away from trouble and be safe!