Saudi Embassy in Turkey issues second warning on passport theft

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey issued its second alert in a week to Saudis visiting the country regarding the safekeeping of their belongings after a burst of Saudi passport theft in Istanbul, pan-Arab outlet Al Arabiya reported

“After some citizens who arrived in the Republic of Turkey on tourism were stopped by authorities for not carrying their original passports, the embassy notes the necessity for citizens to hold on to their original passports with care and prevent its loss, damage or theft,” read a statement by the Saudi Embassy on Twitter. “Turkish security authorities request the original passport for the purpose of verifying identity, and does not accept a copy of the passport.”

Last week, the Saudi embassy in Turkey warned of Turkish gangs targeting Saudi tourists to rob them of their passports, saying that some 165 Saudi passports had been stolen in Istanbul neighborhoods popular with tourists.  

“The thefts and pick-pocketing are not limited to Saudi tourists, but we have heard similar cases among Arab tourists,” Charge D’Affaires at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul Meshary Al-Thyaby was quoted as saying by Asharq Al-Awsat.

In May, the head of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) warned Saudis not to invest in Turkey due to high risk related to the country’s economic crisis. Ajlan Al-Ajlan also said Saudi investors have been threatened, harassed and even pushed into extortion by influential entities in Turkey. 

The number of Saudi tourists visiting Turkey has fallen by more than a third in the first six months of 2019 compared to the same period last year, according to the Federation of Hotel Owners in Turkey, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.