You have been asking me various questions on different subjects for years. So far, one of the most frequent of all is “is Bodrum safe?”. Fortunately, the answer is a big “yes”!
According to Crime Index by Country 2020 data, Turkey is the 48th safest country in the planet among 129 countries in the list. The safety index of Turkey is 60.51 which is higher than many European countries like Greece (59.68), United Kingdom (56.29), Ireland (54.57), France (53.21) or Sweden (52.93). For your reference, the safety index of the US is 52.80, Australia is 58.64, and Russia is 58.88 which are also below Turkey based on the index.
Of course, all those numbers do not mean that there are not bad guys in Turkey, or in Bodrum. Individual incidents can happen sometimes as they do in any other country in the world.
There are several security units working around the clock to keep you safe in Bodrum. Uniformed and undercover police force, traffic polices, gendarme (rural police), coastal security officers, firemen and zabita (municipal police) work together to maintain order and to say “yes” to a question like “is Bodrum safe?”
“Is Bodrum Safe” Cheat Sheet
Unfortunately, we do not have a single emergency number in Turkey yet. Each security and safety service has its own number, and it is a good idea to note them all in your agenda or phone before coming to Turkey.
All the numbers which I have listed below are toll free and available nationwide.
Police and Traffic Police: 155
Fire Department: 110
Forest Fires: 177
Coast Guard: 158
For detailed information on healthcare services, please click here.
Since there are different security departments, I believe that having some knowledge about each unit and its job description can be handy in your Bodrum emergencies.
Police Force for Public Order
I guess the job descriptions of the police forces in the world have similar job description, fighting crime, catching the bad guys, protecting the good guys.
In Turkey, Police department operates under the command of General Directorate of Security which reports directly to Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Police officers who you will see on Bodrum streets will be usually public order polices and traffic polices. However, I know that there are also hundreds of undercover officers working day and night in Bodrum.
Bodrum is a popular town among international travellers. However, it is even more popular for Turkish people. Most of the celebrities, businesspeople, and politicians either spend their vacations or they have a house where they visit all year round in Bodrum. As a result, the security measures are quite tight.
I hope you will not need their assistance but if you need help or want to report any disturbance, call the police hot line, 155, for free from all land lines and mobiles 7/24.
Is Bodrum safe? Thanks to those hard-working men and women: Yes!
Gendarme, the Rural Police
Gendarme is responsible for the public order and security in the rural areas where police does not cover. Like police forces, they are also armed, and they operate in coordination with other security units like police force.
However, gendarme is not a civilian unit like police department. They are soldiers who are trained for rural domestic operations. Gendarme is a part of Turkish Army. However, they have recently assigned to the Ministry of Internal Affairs as well. Today, they have two bosses: Turkish Armed Forces and The Ministry of Internal Affairs.
If you are staying in a mountain village, or visiting a rural archaeological site like Ephesus, do not be surprised, or alarmed, when you see soldiers with guns around. They are just gendarme! You can only see them in rural areas.
Gendarme can also surprise you if you are travelling to Bodrum in a car or on a intercity coach service. As I have already told you in Bodrum Airport Transfers, there are two check points between the airport and the town centre, one near Guvercinlik where is a gendarme zone, the other close to Torba junction. They pull over vehicles randomly and check IDs and passports. This is a routine check which has been around for decades and there is nothing to be worried about.
If you are in a gendarme area and you need assistance, call “156”. Like all other emergency numbers, it is free.
The security services on the territorial waters are provided by Turkish Coast Guard Command. It is a law enforcing armed force. Their mission is to ensure the safety of your life and your properties 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 going to set sail in Turkey, you may want to check Turkish Coast Guard Command’s official web site which is also in English. You will find detailed explanations about their responsibilities, plus links to their Turkish Coast Guard Mobile Application for reporting a case or requesting emergency assistance. It is, of course, also free.
Fire Departments: City and Forest Fires
Here, I would like to talk about two separate fire departments with different responsibilities.
You may remember that I sometimes complain about the bureaucracy in Turkey. Here comes another one: There are two different fire departments and two different numbers to report a fire.
The first one is the common fire department which is responsible for the fires in the city. Fire departments are part of the municipalities where they are located. In our case, it is the Bodrum Municipality.
The location of Bodrum Fire Department is next to the Bodrum Market. However, the emergency number of the fire departments all over the nation is the same and it is 110.
If we are talking about forest fires, it is a different case, though. Forest fires are the responsibility of the General Directorate of Forestry and the hot line for reporting a forest fire is 117.
Fighting forest fires is an ongoing and difficult issue for Turkey. We keep losing our forests every year. If you see a fire during your trips, please do not hesitate to report it to the authorities by dialling 117.
Zabita: Municipal Police
Each municipality in Turkey has its own, unarmed security organization. This unit is unarmed, and they directly report to the mayors.
Municipal police are responsible for the services provided by the municipality. Inspecting bars and restaurants to see if they comply with the public health regulations, maintaining the order in bazaars, regularly checking the hotels and hostels operating with the municipality licence are some of their responsibilities.
Let us say somebody is too insistent and passionate to sell you something in the streets, or a stallholder in the bazaar is asking too much money from you. Call Zabita to make sure that this is not going to happen again.
Similarly, every food or gift stall in the streets should have a license from the municipality. Zabita checks them regularly to see if they have a licence or if they offer healthy food.
Nation-wide toll-free number of Zabita is 153.
All the men and women in the above armed and unarmed units are here to keep Bodrum safe for us. As long as they are there, the answer to “Is Bodrum safe?” will be yes.