Having been a Turkish teacher for 5 years, and being friends with many foreigners living in Turkey, I've heard a lot of stories in which Turkish taxi drivers tried to rob their customers. This of course doesn't apply to all the taxi drivers in the country. But unfortunately, it has been a common action amongst taxi drivers in Turkey. Even one of the most famous stand-up comedians "Cem Yılmaz" tells a gig about this action in his show "Fundamentals".
The gig basically translates to:
*Foreigner gets in the taxi cab* Foreigner: Chultanahmet. *misspells the word Sultanahmet*
Taxi driver: Ohh nice! I'll finally have the money for my son's engagement ceremony. *then clicks on the taximeter*
Here is another video footage in which, taxi drivers rob the disguised news reporters and fight with them.
Although, this doesn't only happen to foreigners. Many of my Turkish friends also tell me how the taxi drivers robbed them when they first arrived at İstanbul from another city. When I was teaching Turkish at Bilgi University, one of my A1 students came up to me with this funny story that he had with a Turkish taxi driver. As he was taking the taxi, he realized that the taxi driver took a longer way to get to his destination. When he realized it, he immediately translated some sentences on Google Translate and studied the sentences until the end of his trip. When he arrived at the destination, he could say all the sentences and convinced the taxi driver to pay less than the taximeter.
How to deal with it?
1) Use Uber
It is really safe to use uber as you already know how much you should be paying even before the journey starts. There was even a disgusting fight between Uber and taxi drivers years ago as taxi drivers thought that Uber was stealing their customers. It went so far that, the Turkish government had to ban Uber from the country. However, after the court's decision, they are back in İstanbul and recently in Ankara.
2) Follow the taximeter and keep some change with you
While taking a taxi, you should be watching the taximeter. Try to keep some changes in your bag or purse to give the exact amount of what the taximeter shows. Try to avoid the taxis with taximeters that are not on the rearview mirror.
3) Learn some phrases to use in the event of a robbery
Turkey is a Muslim-populated country. People try to avoid doing sins. Better to say, they avoid being seen while doing a sin, which is a pity. Some phrases like "Haram olsun" or "Verdiğim para haram olsun" even a stronger one "Haram zıkkım olsun" might possibly change the opinion of the taxi driver as "kul hakkı" (rightful due/cheating someone's right) is one of the biggest sins for a Muslim to commit. Haram olsun = Let it be haram on you.
Verdiğim para haram olsun. = Let the money I gave, be haram on you
Haram zıkkım olsun. = Let it be haram and poison on you.
What are the other ways of dealing with taxi drivers? Please let me and others know in the comments.