On a day-to-day basis, this won’t affect you very much. They’re all police officers, most of them carry guns and they all expect you to do as they tell you!
However, there are important differences between them: for example, differences in the places where you will contact them and differences in the way you will pay any fines or penalty notices imposed.
The most junior people you may encounter are the municipal officers. These are appointed by the municipality and are only found in some towns and larger villages. They are not, strictly speaking, police officers and have very limited powers and responsibilities. They are, basically, there to enforce merchants’ licences, parking regulations and similar matters. They have no power of arrest.
They are contacted via the town hall.
The national police cover the urban areas of Turkey. There are detachments (some of only two or three people) in most towns.
The national police deal with the work we traditionally associate with the police: the investigation of crime, the maintenance of public order and the control of traffic.
There is a national police station in each area. Its address is widely publicised. It will have its own individual telephone number but, in the case of emergencies, you can contact them via the national 112 emergency number.
Rural Police (Jandarma)
The jandarma have roots in the military. They are a branch of the Turkish Armed Forces and are responsible for the maintenance of public order in areas that fall outside the jurisdiction of the police forces (generally rural areas). They also deal with internal security, border control and other specific duties. They have the same powers and responsibilities as the polis.