Monday, 2 December 2013
Turkey Consular Conference - A Customer's View.
Last week I was invited to the 2013 Turkey Consular Conference at the Ramada Resort Hotel. I had no idea what to expect but an announcement on Facebook telling us that all British consular offices in Turkey would be closed for staff training on 26th and 27th November suggested that this wasn't going to be a cosy local affair. It was in fact a meeting of consulate staff from all over Turkey with representatives from Athens, London, Malaga and Sharm El Sheikh also attending. I was one of three "outsiders" brought in to give our opinions on present consular services and comments on suggested strategies. Those of you who read this blog frequently, know that I'm at home rambling over an ancient site or stirring a bubbling pot in the kitchen - power-point presentations, flow charts, "mission statements" and "visions" have never been in my vocabulary but I have to admit I enjoyed the presentations and got stuck in with suggestions on how to improve the service. (If your consulate office has Skype available for client use - remember you read it here first).
What came across most strongly is that this particular group of individuals are all determined to provide the best service for UK nationals in Greece, Turkey and Egypt and that they are reliant on feed-back from us Brits overseas to learn how to best tailor their services to our needs, so if you have any reason to contact a consulate please let them know that you will be happy to answer questions on the experience if asked.
We all travel more confidently knowing that the British consular system is there should we lose a passport or have an accident but the question was inevitably raised as to whether UK nationals who choose to completely relocate to another country should be entitled to consular help in that country. I personally think not, except for emergency travel documents, but would be interested to hear your views.