GUILTY Turkey - Sarai Sierra, 33, NY woman murdered, Istanbul, 21 Jan 2013 - #1

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GinaSeikwa

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I was just looking through her IG account and 4 weeks ago she posts that she will be soon travelling to Europe and that her destinations are Turkey, Germany, and Amsterdam. So the trips were planned for and arranged while she was still in the US and why would she mention Germany if it was just a plane stopover?
 

frenchvixen

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I was just looking through her IG account and 4 weeks ago she posts that she will be soon travelling to Europe and that her destinations are Turkey, Germany, and Amsterdam. So the trips were planned for and arranged while she was still in the US and why would she mention Germany if it was just a plane stopover?

When her friend Magdalena was on Greta with Grimm she said that they have planned for both side trips.
 

frenchvixen

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So far, the authorities in Turkey have been able to place SS on cctv up until early afternoon on Jan. 21st. Even if she is missing she is not a ghost and the cameras MUST spot her either being taken or going somewhere after the 21st. Regardless of where she is right now there has to be cameras that picked up what her next steps were when she left the bridge but did not head home. She cannot disappear into thin air. I'm still waiting for the cameras to show us what happened to SS.
 

frenchvixen

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Kiva, nope, I'm a US citizen. I also travel frequently. Perhaps things aren't as uniform across Schengen as they claim they are. This has been my experience traveling to Europe frequently the last 8 or 9 years. My passport is full of stamps from Iceland and Finland because I tend to fly IcelandAir and FinnAir and it has always annoyed me that I don't get stamped in my destination. Of course, as of late, with international travel, wait 10 minutes and the rules will change. What I wrote should happen is what on paper should occur within the Schengen area, of course, I should know better than to assume that what is supposed to happen is what ACTUALLY happens.

Once you enter the first EU country your passport is stamped and it doesn't get stamped again no matter how many countries (as long as it's EU) that you visit. I just returned from Stockholm last Monday (I'm a US citizen). Although my final destination was Stockholm my flight stopped in Norway and I was stamped there and when I got to Stockholm we were not stamped again. This annoys me too b/c I wanted to be stamped in Sweden (I know it's silly). Well, at least I have a Norwegian stamp even though I didn't step foot outside the airport. By the way there is very nice modern art at the Norwegian airport. There are Munch paintings all over the wall. Anyways, back at the ranch...
 

Walker

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... knows not a damn thing about customs and crime, etc....AND meeting up with a man (she didn't even know if it was truly a man (er, men) - hello T'EO!!) in said foreign country is NOT NORMAL!!

What does "T'EO" mean?
 

Walker

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It seems odd too that all these people she met online were MEN. If the interest were just photography, wouldn't it be a mixed group of men and women? Why only men? Seems like 2 in Amsterdam and 4 in turkey. That is strange, I would think most women, let alone married women, would feel more comfortable meeting women online for casual conversation, not men.

Indeed, even in the US, how many people casually meet a member of the opposite sex in person after meeting them first online? Hardly any, most cases where you meet someone of the opposite sex in person it is for dating...in fact, even if under the guise of something else, most single men meeting a women they met online see it as a romantic thing, IMO. I wonder if these guys knew she was married, like I wonder if any of her pics show her husband and kids...

Yes, and no female offered to let her "couch-surf" --- only men? No female university students or tourists to go to cafes with? Since she belonged to some religious group, couldn't the group help arrange for her to meet with some other women over there to go sight-seeing with? That would have been a much safer situation for her, and not at all difficult; but maybe she was more interested in the men than the photos, history and architecture.
 

Walker

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It is VERY hard for me to believe she left her kids like that though. This is where this theory just does not add up, at all. Moms who are good Moms do not do this. She did not in anyway seem to be a delinquent Mom, just the opposite.

We don't have this information. Almost nothing of SS's life previous to this incident has been presented in the media. Generally, we may not like the thought of any mother running away and abandoning her children, but it does happen.
 

lucky181

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What does "T'EO" mean?

Long story short... Manti Te'o, the Notre Dame football player who told the world that his online/phone girlfriend died during football season. It turns out that she never existed and a young man was pretending to be her.
 

Walker

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This is true. The police is not liked by everyone Turkey (and for good reasons). If this guy Taylan was Kurdish, for example, he would've had a good reason not to go to the police.

A number of people here have found it strange that a married mother of two would be travelling the world by herself. I would like to point out that this would seem even weirder to an average Turkish person. While Istanbul comes across as a very modern and liberal city, Turkey on the whole is religiously conservative. Large areas of the country can only be described as rather backward. Most Turkish women are probably still virgins when they marry (marrying of course, being the norm) and honour crimes are still reported even in the more developed Western parts of the country. Under the current government the country has become even more conservative.

Added to that, I am afraid, the majority of Turkish men view Western women as "easy".

Unless some new evidence comes up, I doubt Sarai was being used as a drug mule or that she ran away with someone. The fact that she stayed with someone she had never met before, while in Amsterday, suggests that she trusted people very (too) easily. I think it is more likely that she met some unsavory character in Istanbul and trusted them when she shouldn't have.

Either that or she became a victim of some random attack in Tarlabaşı, which, as someone was writing here, is not a normal neighbourhood in a lower income country, but a truly notorious one.

Some of these female tourists from US/Europe almost seem like they are baiting the people of the more struggling, socially conservative societies. The people are of course forced to be nice to the tourists to make a little money and provide for their children, and therefore they must tolerate what they regard as indecent dress and behavior. The smug hipsters surely set off resentment.
 

frenchvixen

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Yes, and no female offered to let her "couch-surf" --- only men? No female university students or tourists to go to cafes with? Since she belonged to some religious group, couldn't the group help arrange for her to meet with some other women over there to go sight-seeing with? That would have been a much safer situation for her, and not at all difficult; but maybe she was more interested in the men than the photos, history and architecture.

Another thing is that she is from a religious background and I'm surprised that she was in the company of male friends while traveling alone. Usually people from church go out of their way to avoid even the remote idea of wrongdoing. I think it really hit her hubby when he arrived to Turkey b/c I read that he was offended with all the comments that she was surrounded by men. It's hard to ignore these facts but because she is the victim of some type of foul play it becomes uncomfortable to bring up.
 

frenchvixen

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Some of these female tourists from US/Europe almost seem like they are baiting the people of the more struggling, socially conservative societies. The people are of course forced to be nice to the tourists to make a little money and provide for their children, and therefore they must tolerate what they regard as indecent dress and behavior. The smug hipsters surely set off resentment.

yep, the quote "when in rome do as the romans" was not invented for nothing It literally can save your life if you can simply learn to go along with a host's country's morals.
 

necco

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Some of these female tourists from US/Europe almost seem like they are baiting the people of the more struggling, socially conservative societies. The people are of course forced to be nice to the tourists to make a little money and provide for their children, and therefore they must tolerate what they regard as indecent dress and behavior. The smug hipsters surely set off resentment.

I hardly think of Turkey as a "struggling" society.

Istanbul is an extremely cosmopolitan city.
 

Walker

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I hardly think of Turkey as a "struggling" society.

Istanbul is an extremely cosmopolitan city.

Turkey is not in a grim state; but compared to the average citizen of US or Western Europe, the average citizen of Turkey is economically struggling. My comment was also directed at tourists who go to India, Nepal and more obviously struggling societies.

Being "cosmopolitan" can go both ways; the variety of cultures and attitudes inevitably leads to conflict. For every partying back-packing hipster, how many social conservatives, esp. Muslim, but also Christian, can be found?

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tu.html

Turkey's largely free-market economy is increasingly driven by its industry and service sectors, although its traditional agriculture sector still accounts for about 25% of employment. An aggressive privatization program has reduced state involvement in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication, and an emerging cadre of middle-class entrepreneurs is adding dynamism to the economy and expanding production beyond the traditional textiles and clothing sectors. The automotive, construction, and electronics industries, are rising in importance and have surpassed textiles within Turkey's export mix ... Growth dropped to approximately 3% in 2012. Turkey's public sector debt to GDP ratio has fallen to about 40%. Continued strong growth has pushed inflation to the 9% level, however. Turkey remains dependent on often volatile, short-term investment to finance its large trade deficit. The stock value of FDI stood at $117 billion at year-end 2012. Inflows have slowed because of continuing economic turmoil in Europe, the source of much of Turkey's FDI. Further economic and judicial reforms and prospective EU membership are expected to boost Turkey's attractiveness to foreign investors. However, Turkey's relatively high current account deficit, uncertainty related to monetary policy-making, and political turmoil within Turkey's neighborhood leave the economy vulnerable to destabilizing shifts in investor confidence.
 

ToutCa

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1). Phone confusion: when her disappearance was announced, multiple authorities said her cell phone was found in her room and she thus couldn't be tracked. They were very specific -- it was not just a charger. But on yesterday, they said her "American phone" had been activated on the 30th (Skype used) and 31st. So the implication seems to be she had an "American" and "Turkish" phone with her -- and that she disappeared with the "American" phone and her iPad, which makes sense as these were apparently what she used to take pictures.

2). The Turkish press has insisted on the $10-12,000 spending spree. Other sources have denied this, and no one has ever offered a glimmer on what all this money was supposedly being spent on! Murky.

3). Sarai posted the "2 is better than 1" comment on Instagram. To be fair, she is referring to 2 pictures, tagging the second one she is posting for an online contest. The picture is an exterior shot of Amsterdam architectural features with no people in it. The tag could be innocent and meaningless*, could be a flirtatious joke, or could be a winking reference to possible adventures with host Ammer and pal. Impossible to say:
http://instagram.com/p/UjzBZxtdOw/

*It could have sprung to her mind because of the ATT guy "2 is better than 1" commercials that have been playing constantly the last month or two: http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7AkB/at-and-t-2-is-better-than-1-featuring-beck-bennett
 

Wanderlust

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I hardly think of Turkey as a "struggling" society.

Istanbul is an extremely cosmopolitan city.

I wouldn't say Istanbul is "extremely cosmopolitan", although it is certainly much more modern and liberal than most other Turkish cities. However, what I was trying to point out in my earlier post is that in central Istanbul, where women are free to dress as they will, alcohol is readily available etc. it is VERY EASY to forget that Turkey, for the most part, is religiously conservative. And Istanbul attracts a lot of people (especially young men) from the more conservative and less prosperous parts of the country. In many cases such people end up working in the tourist sector, so tourists are in fact more likely to mix with people from outside Istanbul than true Istanbulites.

I'm not saying that all conservative people are "bad", let alone dangerous, but many of them do tend to have very rigid ideas about how "respectable" women are supposed to behave. It is very easy for western women to give such ignorant individuals "the wrong idea" without even realising it. When she was in Amsterdam, Sarai apparently stayed in the home of a man she hadn't even met before. Well, in the traditional Turkish culture, visiting the home of a man who is not your relative, without your husband, would be a huge no no.

Maybe Sarai was first hanging out with some cool, liberal Turks (many of them out there, of course), which made her let her guard down slightly, and then ended up trusting someone she should't have.

There are almost 14 million people in Istanbul, so obviously there are all kinds of characters out there.
 

ami

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I was just looking through her IG account and 4 weeks ago she posts that she will be soon travelling to Europe and that her destinations are Turkey, Germany, and Amsterdam. So the trips were planned for and arranged while she was still in the US and why would she mention Germany if it was just a plane stopover?

Her stopover was probably long enough to leave the airport for a bit. Either that or it was simply the fact that she'd never been out of the country and so a layover felt like a country she could say she was "visiting".


Yes, and no female offered to let her "couch-surf" --- only men? No female university students or tourists to go to cafes with? Since she belonged to some religious group, couldn't the group help arrange for her to meet with some other women over there to go sight-seeing with? That would have been a much safer situation for her, and not at all difficult; but maybe she was more interested in the men than the photos, history and architecture.

Wow, that's a pretty sanctimonious and snarky thing to say about a woman we presume to be a victim. I don't even know why you'd assume that. The IG guy actually sounds smart and interesting and friendly from his posts - other posters in IG seem to chat with him quite a bit about trips to Amsterdam. And her husband KNEW she was chatting to him and staying with him. To me this sounds like a friendly person offering their couch and some tour guiding in a fun city. And she arrived back from this trip SAFELY.

Why on earth do people want to shove this woman into some 1950's housewife role in which she cowers behind her husband while traveling and piously allows her religious leaders to find friends for her on vacation? Who even does that in 2013? Where was she supposed to find these "female university students and tourists" to glom on to on a 3 day AMsterdam trip?

And how were these female students and female tourists supposed to "trust" some strange woman they had never met enough to travel and room with, if such trust of the unknown seems so naive?

Isn't it more sensible if we operate here based on the personality and attitude that she actually seems to HAVE, rather than comparing her actions to some meek and scared fantasy personality people would apparently like her to have?


Another thing is that she is from a religious background and I'm surprised that she was in the company of male friends while traveling alone. Usually people from church go out of their way to avoid even the remote idea of wrongdoing. I think it really hit her hubby when he arrived to Turkey b/c I read that he was offended with all the comments that she was surrounded by men. It's hard to ignore these facts but because she is the victim of some type of foul play it becomes uncomfortable to bring up.

I've never heard that 'people from church' go out of their way to avoid the remote idea of wrongdoing. People are people. People who attend church are pretty much like non-church people. In most religions they are as likely to drink, smoke, have affairs and adventures and the entire range of the human experience, flaws and all.

In any case, she seems to be a bright, engaged, creative, fun person who didn't seem overly preachy or subdued by her religion.

And if I were her husband, I would also be offended that people were questioning the morals of my wife for speaking to men when she traveled. Her husband knew she was doing this. She is, we're assuming, a victim - are you suggesting that she was somehow asking for it?
 

belimom

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I wonder if her phone was turned on long enough to be traced?

I think it must have been or else how would they know it on. Also, I think the phone is (or was) must have had a WiFi connection for the Skype unless she has a Turkish SIM card. I hope so b/c maybe LE could then trace the IP address. It could be a public hotspot instead of a private account but that may still yield a surveillance video, etc.
 
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