Cable by Dazzlepod US Embassy Diplomatic Cables from WikiLeaks Released 251287 Cables (Sep 2, 2012)
SECRET (11322)
Reference ID 03ISTANBUL452 (original text)
OriginConsulate Istanbul
ReleasedAug 30, 2011 01:44
CreatedApr 3, 2003 08:56
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. C O N F I D E N T I A L ISTANBUL 000452 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/01/2013 
Classified By: Consul General David Arnett for reasons 1.5 (b) & (d) 
 1. (C) In separate March 26 meetings, Istanbul contacts 
confirmed that illegal foreign prostitution in Istanbul 
remains widespread, and that criminal networks, and possibly 
even corrupted officials, have a lucrative stake in the 
business.   Marmara University sociologist professor Nilufer 
Narli told poloff that foreign prostitution, particularly 
involving "Russians," remains widespread in various 
neighborhoods of Istanbul (Note: Such women are generally 
Moldovan, but also come from the other countries in the 
region.  End Note).  In addition to cheap hotels and bars 
which play host to foreign prostitution in Taksim, Laleli, 
and Aksaray, Sisli District Governor Osman Demir confirmed 
that  prostitution is also widespread in the night clubs of 
the Elmadag neighborhhod in Sisli.  Asked how many of these 
women might have been involuntarily forced into this work, 
both Narli and Demir said that the overwhelming majority work 
voluntarily.  Demir maintained that many are primarily 
"suitcase traders," who simply "raise capital" by engaging in 
prostitution on the side.  Narli said that her research had 
not found many such women, although she admitted that there 
are probably some young women who are lured to Istanbul under 
the expectation that they will engage in other work (as 
waitresses, maids, or babysitters), and are pressured into 
prostitution by economic circumstances or even by force. 
 2. (C) Both Demir and Narli said that criminal groups have a 
major stake in the prostitution business.  Demir (who 
oversees the security apparatus for the Sisli district) told 
poloff that he believes both local and international groups 
are involved.  In addition to the mafia elements, Narli added 
that there are "undoubtedly" corrupt officials who profit 
from these illegal activities.  She pointed to the fact that 
some of the hotels and other establishments where such 
prostitution occurs are even owned by retired police 
officials.  The fact that even the highest levels of Turkish 
society use such prostitutes (or at least the exclusive 
high-end "escorts"), Narli suggested, may be why such illegal 
activities are tolerated.  Separately, Demir noted that the 
sharp disparity between the economic prospects such women 
face at home compared with what they can earn in Istanbul 
will always make it difficult for the authorities to control 
such activities. 
 3. (SBU) Comment: These remarks largely track with what we 
had understood to be the situation here in Istanbul.  It is 
interesting that both of these contacts raised the subject on 
their own in meetings on other subjects, suggesting to us 
that our contacts are increasingly aware of our concerns 
regarding trafficking in persons.