1 taxi, 2 women, 3 guys with badges. What just happened?
Something just happened before our eyes, but I really don’t know what.
It was straight out of a James Bond movie, but it happened next to us. We were walking down the street in Istanbul and a man stopped a taxi as we waited on the corner. We waited on the corner to let the taxis pass because we’ve learned cars seem to have the right of way here in town.
But this man put up his forefinger in something of a command to the taxi driver to stop or at the very least, “Listen, pal, I’m crossing the road and you’re going to stop and let me cross.” He looked like either an underwear model, a skateboarder dude or an undercover cop. Maybe all three. The other two guys came from the same school of fashion and no-nonsense academy of control. They were certainly in control of the situation. The women complied, the taxi driver stopped and I was ready to hand over my knock-off sunglasses.
Then the man walked to the driver whose window was down and they spoke, or rather, the man spoke to the driver. Of course, I have no idea what he said. The taxi stopped there in the middle of the road as two other men approached, both flashing some sort of ID cards in flat wallets. Not a big bulky badge, but more like the shape of a passport. We crossed in front of the taxi.
Two women sat in the back seat of the taxi. They looked middle aged and were head to toe covered, but not the full garb that also covers most of the face. The women seemed to know what to do, although they weren’t happy about it. They exited the taxi, both from the right side as the men escorted them to the empty corridor next to the shop. I didn’t want to stare because, frankly, I didn’t want to also be taken in.
The women weren’t happy, but they also weren’t saying anything. They seemed to know what was going on. I didn’t. The men brought them over to the side of the shop where they stood and then we kept walking away.
What could have happened?
Were the women caught for shoplifting? Did their brothers finally capture them after they escaped the family fiefdom? Were they convicted felons? Was this a routine and random stop to check IDs? Maybe something with the whole head-to-toe clothing requirements? Maybe we’ll never know. I certainly don’t yet.
We walked on the other side of the street 10 minutes later and they were still talking to them. Gathering information, talking, exchanging IDs. I’d love to know, but probably never will.