A spate of thefts in which tourists are robbed after their drinks are spiked is being covered up by the Turkish authorities, according to the family of a British man who died last year after a visit to a nightclub.
The body of Andrew Smyth, 32, an electrician from Swindon, Wiltshire, was discovered on September 12 in a forest outside Manavgat, near the popular Turkish holiday resort of Antalya. Forensic tests suggest his drink was spiked, and video taken shortly before his death showed him dazed and unstable as he was forced to withdraw all his money from a cash machine. His body was found a few miles away, indicating that he was left to die in the forest.
Tourism workers on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast say the spiking of tourists’ drinks is a much bigger problem than is officially admitted. Many cases end in robbery or sexual assault. Fatalities are rare, but Smyth’s death suggests the victims’ families can expect little support from either local authorities or the Foreign Office.
Nine months after his death little has been done to find those responsible. His family have the impression that the Turkish authorities want to hush up his death for fear of damaging tourism, and that the British government is reluctant to strain relations by pushing for justice.
A Foreign Office statement said: “We can confirm the death of a British national, Andrew Smyth, in Manavgat, Turkey, in September 2010. Consular staff are in contact with the family and are providing consular assistance at this difficult time.”
This was news to Smyth’s family. “We flew to Turkey and met Jane Baz, the British consul in Antalya,” said Chris Smyth, Andrew’s 63-year-old father, a retired soldier. “We wanted to generate some publicity to try to persuade witnesses to come forward, but Jane Baz told us not to go to the press. She said it would jeopardise the investigation.”
“She said we had to take the officer in charge of the investigation, Metin Kaya, out to lunch,” added Lynne Cannon, Smyth’s 61-year-old companion. “She said that we had to be nice to Metin or he wouldn’t do anything.”
Baz dismissed suggestions that she could be doing more to help Smyth’s family. “I’m not a detective,” she said.
“Andrew was my only child,” said Smyth. “I still can’t come to terms with it. And the indifference, the lies and false promises have made it all so much worse.”
A toxicology report said a combination of heroin, morphine and codeine was found in Smyth’s blood. Footage from a camera outside the nightclub showed him leaving at 3am and someone in a T-shirt, identified as a club regular, tapping another man on the shoulder and gesturing for him to follow.
Over the next 20 minutes, video footage of the cash machines shows Smyth surrounded by several men, being made to take out money, until he gestures that there is no more. It is the last image of him alive.
“I have never loved anyone like I loved Andy,” said Maria Jones, his ex-girlfriend, who had a 10-year relationship with him. “We were thinking about getting back together. But now I will never know what could have been. All I know is that I will never get over this.”
Source: Sunday Times