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TK Transported Body Of Sarai Sierra Home Free  
User currently offlineGEsubsea From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 183 posts, RR: 1
Posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1423 times:

A very nice gesture by Turkish Airlines and likely encouraged by the gov't of Turkey in transporting the body of New Yorker Sarai Sierra for free back home to the states. As of this article she departed Ataturk on Thursday and arrived at JFK later that day (their is a pic of her casket preparing to be loaded on the JFK bound flight in the below article). From previous news accounts I understand that the family was having a hard time coming up with the funds to pay for the return of her remains back to the US.

While I realize this is an isolated case concerning the murder of a US citizen in Turkey, I am wondering how safe Istanbul is for the avg. foreign citizen? My wife and I are traveling seperately through Istanbul in late August on the way to Hamburg in which we will both have stopovers of 24 & 48 hrs repectively (IAH-IST-HAM). Is Istanbul a safe place to visit on ones own while transiting?

Body of New York mom murdered in Turkey being returned home
Published February 07, 2013
FoxNews.com
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/02...being-returned-home/#ixzz2KSQRYona

The body of a New York City woman killed while on vacation in Turkey is reportedly being returned home.

The Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s state-run news outlet, said a casket carrying the remains of Sarai Sierra, 33, was being loaded onto a New York-bound plane on Thursday. Turkish Airlines is transporting the body for free, the agency said.

[Edited 2013-02-09 18:01:41]

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 24803 posts, RR: 46
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1349 times:

Don't go visit and hang out in iffy areas and folks and you will be fine. Like any city Istanbul has an underworld.

I'm sure details about what she was doing on her European visit will be revealed in due time. Many things were odd. Left the US with $400 in her pocket for a 2-week trip. Was allegedly there to take photos, but did not have a camera with her besides her phone. Took side trips to Germany and Holland. We also already know she hung out with people she had met online, and even had a sexual relationship with one and attended a night club that was known for narcotics activity.
Maybe she was a drug mule, which might help explain her mysterious European journey.


At the end of the day more than 31.5 million foreign tourists visit Turkey. Go have a good time. Its a fantastic place.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1339 times:

This is a wonderful gesture by TK. It is sad that the woman was murdered and my sympathies to her family.

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
the family was having a hard time coming up with the funds to pay for the return of her remains back to the US.

Did she not have suitable travel insurance? I know that no-one anticipates being murdered while travelling, but insurance is meant to cover those unexpected things like the need to repatriate the body in the event of death overseas.

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
Is Istanbul a safe place to visit on ones own while transiting?

Millions of people do it every year without incident but you can be unlucky in any city anywhere in the world. You could fall victim to purse-snatching or the taxi rorts and the usual advice on not going to bars with a newly-made "friend" is the sort of advice to follow in any other city.

If you are staying at a hotel that is part of a well-known chain - e.g. Hilton, Hyatt, Swissotel, etc - you may find that they are able to organise fixed-price taxis or offer guided tours through local partners, if you are reluctant to venture out alone. They may not be cheap but they do offer the advantage of someone who knows the place and transport there and back. Istanbul is a great city. Enjoy your time there.


User currently offlineusdcaguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 949 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 1248 times:

Be very careful in Istanbul. I've been the victim of mugging and other crimes there and advise naive Midwestern tourists to keep their guard up. Don't follow anyone anywhere and always stay in the public eye when you meet a stranger. Many people I've talked to who have also been there have been the victims of scammers and thieves while visitiing, usually falling prey to people they have met socially while alone. Don't get me wrong; Istanbul is a beautiful city steeped in history, but it is also the crossroads of Europe and Asia and a transit point for many people and their lives.

User currently offlineJamake1 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1005 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 1221 times:

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 2):
'm sure details about what she was doing on her European visit will be revealed in due time. Many things were odd. Left the US with $400 in her pocket for a 2-week trip. Was allegedly there to take photos, but did not have a camera with her besides her phone. Took side trips to Germany and Holland. We also already know she hung out with people she had met online, and even had a sexual relationship with one and attended a night club that was known for narcotics activity.
Maybe she was a drug mule, which might help explain her mysterious European journey.

I will dispel some of those rumors about Mrs. Sierra's activities. She did not have a camera because she used her iPad to take photographs...as many amateur photographers do. One of the 21 persons of interest taken into custody claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Mrs. Sierra. This person changed his story several times. Turkish authorities already have ruled out that Mrs. Sierra had anything to do with drug activity. Furthermore, Mrs. Sierra was in constant contact with her family back home to update her daily activities.

I can also tell you that United Airlines was also involved in helping to return Mrs. Sierra's remains and was in touch with NY Representative Michael Grimm's office. Fox News with Greta Van Susteren, had a story about the crime and completely distorted the facts to suggest that Mrs. Sierra traveled to Turkey to have an affair.



United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
User currently offlineSCQ83 From United States of America, joined Oct 2012, 834 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1100 times:

Istanbul is safe as far as you are minimal street wise. You don't need to be very careful in IST the way that you should be careful in most Latin American capitals... or even in some US cities. But IST is a 15-million ppl city (it is enormous) with huge social and economic differences in an emerging economy.

I have travelled alone and with local friends... when travelling alone I have been approached a few times by weird characters (i.e. when taking pics in central areas) offering me to visit some bar (funny enough I had read before about that scam, it must be a typical experience every other tourist goes through in IST), sex (?) or other illegal stuff... and even with my local friends taxi drivers tried to cheat us! Also service tends to be abysmal and foreign languages are non-existant, so it can be a bit frustating... but Istanbul is certainly worth a visit at least once in your lifetime (Agia Sophia, Topkapi...) and is a safe place overall... certainly 48 hours is not enough. But it is not Kyoto or Neuchatel either... so do not be too naive about friendly offerings and all that.


User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1063 times:

Quoting Jamake1 (Reply 4):
Quoting Quokkas (Reply 2):

Except that isn't what I wrote. The quote function seems to be doing odd things. The only question I posed was whether she had insurance.


User currently onlineusflyer msp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2105 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1057 times:

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 5):
Istanbul is safe as far as you are minimal street wise. You don't need to be very careful in IST the way that you should be careful in most Latin American capitals... or even in some US cities. But IST is a 15-million ppl city (it is enormous) with huge social and economic differences in an emerging economy.

I have travelled alone and with local friends... when travelling alone I have been approached a few times by weird characters (i.e. when taking pics in central areas) offering me to visit some bar (funny enough I had read before about that scam, it must be a typical experience every other tourist goes through in IST), sex (?) or other illegal stuff... and even with my local friends taxi drivers tried to cheat us! Also service tends to be abysmal and foreign languages are non-existant, so it can be a bit frustating... but Istanbul is certainly worth a visit at least once in your lifetime (Agia Sophia, Topkapi...) and is a safe place overall... certainly 48 hours is not enough. But it is not Kyoto or Neuchatel either... so do not be too naive about friendly offerings and all that.

I completely agree (and had the same things happen to me when I visited in 2008). If you follow your instincts, just like in any other big city, they probably will not lead you wrong.


User currently offlineBraniff747SP From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 2963 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1047 times:

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 2):
Did she not have suitable travel insurance?

Who does?

Travel insurance is not common at all in my experience.



The 747 will always be the TRUE queen of the skies!
User currently offlineltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13029 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1038 times:

It was indeed an excellent gesture on the part of TK to do this, it is excellent public relations and publicity for the airline and for the Government of Turkey, especially in the USA. I believe her body was on the same flight as her husband and brother were on, they had both gone there to help in the search for her. There a number of issues between the USA and Turkey, including that they are in NATO, the developing civil war in Syria, issues as to the Kurds in the eastern part of the country, adjacent to Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordon and close to Israel, their assisting with attempts to break the Israeli embargoes on Gaza and as to Armenian minority historical issues.
I woudn't doubt of possible financial issues on the part of the Sierra family as probably she had little or no life insurance, not much in savings and if any, used to pay for their sad trip to Turkey, as well as the costs (perhaps several $1000, to fly here body to NYC, and funeral and burial plot purchases and the need for money to take care of her 2 children.

As to why she ended up dead, even in 'civilized' NY City several tourists are dead and others injured in assaults due to bad judgements, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, victims of robberies.

While some express ideas from being involved with drug muleing/drug money transfers to having an affair, most likely, she just made a bad, naive judgment to meet someone. Perhaps he was setting her up for a rape, she refused his advances and clubbed her to hide his tracks. Maybe it was a set up for a robbery as I-pads and phones are very hot items all over the world. She could have also been an intended target as an American, note the suicide bomber attack at the US Embassy in that city the previous week. As to having only $400 US on her when she left, have ATM card - will travel, no need to bring a lot of cash with you now.

I liked the picture they mainly used for her in the news, it showed an attractive, confident person, someone that will be missed deeply by her apparently devoted husband and her family and friends. Sadly a friend was to go with her but had to change her plans late due to personal reasons.


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26845 posts, RR: 58
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 908 times:

Quoting Braniff747SP (Reply 8):
Travel insurance is not common at all in my experience.

Anyone who leaves their country of residence without proper fully comprehensive travel insurance are naive and stupid. I cant believe that in the USA it is not more common. Here in the UK and Ireland its always recommended and if they refuse it then they make their choice and should not be assisted . Its about personal responsibility and common sense. I buy a good annual multi trip insurance policy to cover for everything including repatriation of my body should the worst ever happen. It only costs me EUR80 a year and is well worth it compared to what you would pay if you were involved in an accident or worse. I am not so selfish to burden my Family with debt should something happen to me abroad.

Kudos to TK for their gesture . Istanbul is not unsafe I have been many many times. Often I have been approached to be offered tours and bar visits but I always refuse and walk on . Women should not venture off the beaten track as there have been instances of ''over friendly'' locals taking advantage and then leads to accusations of rape or in this case worse.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 24803 posts, RR: 46
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 880 times:

Quoting Jamake1 (Reply 4):
I will dispel some of those rumors about Mrs. Sierra's activities.

Do you know her, or were you there. No

It seems there is much more to this story then a simple American tourist looking to see Europe for the first time, including odd impromptu 2 day side trip to Amsterdam and Munich.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 9):
note the suicide bomber attack at the US Embassy in that city the previous week.

You have your cities mixed up. The US Embassy incident was in Ankara

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 9):
As to having only $400 US on her when she left, have ATM card - will travel, no need to bring a lot of cash with you now.

Well she did not have an ATM card. Matter of fact she was broke and according to the FBI her father had to wire her $500 twice.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 9):
to having an affair

Authorities have now found emails from her husband the weeks prior to her trip discussing cheating and their bad relationships.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
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