This has happened to quite a few travelers I know. The shoeshine guy casually drops his brush in front of some tourists, who pick it up to hand it back. The shoe shiner then offers to polish their shoes for what seems like a free thank you but demands money afterwards. These scammers work in teams around Istanbul’s major tourist areas, including Taksim’s bright artery Istiklal Caddesi and Sultanahment, as the video (in Turkish) shows. Not surprisingly, they weren’t too happy about the idea of being interviewed on television.
VIDEO: Istanbul’s shoeshine boys filmed tricking tourists (Hurriyet Daily News)