Dont Hate Turkey! Sarai Sierra, American Tourist, Killed by Blow to Head


Sarai Sierra, American Tourist, Killed by Blow to Head, Turkish Police Say

A New York City woman vacationing alone in Istanbul was killed by at least one fatal blow to her head, Turkish officials said today. The body of Sarai Sierra, 33, was was identified by her husband, Steven Sierra, in a morgue, Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin said today. After an intense search that lasted nearly two weeks, the body of Sarai Sierra was found near the ruins of some ancient city walls and a highway on Saturday. Sierra was wearing the same outfit she was seen wearing on…Full Story

I am not going to discuss the whys and wherefores of this poor woman’s death because we don’t really know what happened.

I have to say i am disgusted with a majority of comments i have read around the net. There are people bringing religion, ‘Islam’ into it, talk about how the Muslims hate Americans etc. People who have never been outside their own countries stating how awful, backward and dirty Turkey is. This is mainly coming from Americans and probably the ignorant unenlightened majority whilst the other decent Americans have to take the flak!

People have asked questions which i will give my opinion below.

Comment:What is a married woman doing going alone to Turkey to take pictures.

A:This is 2013 and women don’t need chaperone’s and that includes the majority of Turkish women.

Comment: She had children she shouldn’t have gone off alone.

A: The children have a father too don’t they? A woman does not stop living because she has children if they are in safe loving hands of family. There are reasons families cant always go away together, does that mean a women is always the one to stay behind?

Comment: Americans shouldn’t travel to Muslim countries. They hate us!

A: I wonder why? Look at your foreign policy but it has not been shown that this is a hate crime so there you go ‘Islamophobia’

Comment: So you leave your kids to go off on some trip to a country where you know Muslims live and who will be very upset that you are walking around in jeans without a male escort?  I’m a man and would never go into any Islamic country, at least not without the second U.S. Army.

A:How ridiculous is this commenter? Many women in Istanbul and most parts of Turkey dress in jeans, skirts, tee shirts etc. They just don’t show a lot of flesh.  Turkey receives over 30 million tourists a year and  the vast majority of Turkish people, including men, are honest, kind and decent but i suppose you will find a few like the commentator above !

I travelled alone a lot when i was younger because i am a bit of an adventurer. It was almost impossible for me and hubby to be able to go as a family as there was always an obstruction. My girls had grown up before i started travelling but i wouldn’t have hesitated to travel even when they were small if we could have afforded it.

Bearing in mind that we are Muslims you can see that we are very enlightened and believe in the rights of men and women. Although hubby would be nervous about me travelling alone, he understood the thirst i had for seeing new places and cultures and gave me his blessings. He put my care in Allah and in my good sense.

I have visited Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia  and Pakistan and i must say it opened my eyes and changed the misconceptions i had about so called third world countries. Unless you have been to these places you cant make a judgment by what you hear in the media. I won’t go into that here though.

My most loved place is Turkey where I/we have been going to for 16 years also having a second home there for 12 years .Its a beautiful place with good-natured hospitable people who are very welcoming.

Having mastered the worst pigeon Turkish we are able to communicate and make friends, watch tv and read newspapers. We have also explored non tourist areas in Turkey so i believe i have a right to say that  I understand the people and the culture.

On the whole Turkish people are torn between extremities of old and new but are seriously the most modern of Muslim countries. I have found that, just like anyone in any other country is that if you treat them with respect you get that back.

I do know that the tourist areas are probably the paces with the worst reputation for touting, hard selling and flirting and lone women should be aware and not believe everything they are told by the men. Most people in the tourist areas come from inland Turkey where they can live from hand to mouth so when they see an opportunity to benefit themselves they have no scruples regarding hitching up with a tourist. I have to admit that if i was in their shoes i might do the same.

Crimes against foreigners are not as common as many Americans think. In fact on the whole Turkey’s crime statistics are 10 times better than US. I have bought 3 properties over the years carrying large amounts of money from bank to bank in taxis and peoples cars, i have left my handbag twice in a taxi and in a restaraunt and had them delivered back to my home/hotel. I have been escorted by families late at night making sure that i get home safely. When electricity goes off for hours or even all day, people have sent food or lamps.  If you are a visitor in a home as a guest you will be treated like royalty. If you need help there is always someone willing to help you even go out of their way to do so. I love the way people in Turkey look out for each other. Everything is not perfect nor is it anywhere but i have never felt afraid or alone in Turkey.

I have travelled to many many countries, Muslim and Christian and the people are no different except in the way they look, dress or behave socially. I find that a majority of tourists treat the natives as if they are ignorant or stupid when in fact they themselves are the ones who are! People who don’t travel far from their own culture think that their way is the only way and the rest of the world are wrong.

If you are a woman travelling alone to Turkey or for that matter any country you are as safe as you would be anywhere follow the rules below.

  • Always research the place your going to making sure you stay in a populated reputable area.
  • Learn a bit of the language, it will be appreciated.
  • Let people know of your plans even at your hotel.
  • Be friendly with other women including the natives. You can get advice are even a companion.
  • Walk assertively and confidently.
  • Don’t go out with strangers or even go to any unpopulated area alone .
  • Consider wearing a (fake) wedding ring.
  • Trust your intuition.

Istanbul was the 5th most visited city in 2012

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8 Responses

  1. This saddens me and I don’t think that a lot of the negativity is helping her family come to terms with their loss. I have never once felt threatened and I travel alone in Turkey all the time and I feel safer there than in some situations in the UK. Obviously as you say you do have to use your common sense but my thoughts and prayers have to be with her young children at this time

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  2. . . well said Rosamond – it’s the disproportionate response to individual tragedies like this one – I take nothing away from this woman’s family when I question why there is not the same uproar over the countless murders of civilians in Syria or Libya or Mail or Iraq or Palestine or Yemen or Bahrain or soon to be decimated Algeria ‘our’ governments.

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    • All enlightened people know why this is happening dont we? I remember when the Bush Doctrine (Bush senior) was released online and everything became clear.The USA ‘s long term plan to destroy and rule the Middle East. İ suppose thats another story that many people havent heard. P.s i have searched for years to find the ‘ Bush doctrine’ but its disappeared from the whole www

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  3. Here here – very well said. I got fed up of reading such vile comments about this particular story. Mostly from Armchair critics I would say. I stopped reading it in the end.

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  4. i was in istanbul one month ago and it was the best trip in my life.i live in croatia and have been all over the world,but istanbul was the best and most confortable place in terms of security and was feeling very safe there,in fact far,far more then in california for example.turkish people were very nice and polite in all areas.things like those mentioned in article can happen anywhere in the world,and usually are done by some sick individual or someone connected to victim.i also had some security issues before i went there because we croatians also have some issues with muslims in past as well as our fellow americans so people here also dont like muslim countries as well.i recommend going to turkey ,dont bother with things like this it is really not the fact there,tom

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  5. Thanks Tom for your comment. As a Muslim I find Turkey the most tolerant of all Muslim countries. However it makes my blood boil when hearing about how people hate each other when they themselves stand by and let their governments commit atrocities towards others. This applies to all Muslim, Jewish and Christian countries but all the blame seems to lie at the feet of the Muslims who, like the Jews, have or are suffering persecution.

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