Saturday, 24 January 2015

Doc Martin

I'm going to start the year singing the praise of some local heros. 
Martin Redman bought his house in Bodrum in 2006 as an investment, but after 2 heart attacks and a week in Papworth hospital, an out-of-the-blue offer to buy his three UK businesses had him selling up his life in the UK and moving to Bodrum on Christmas Eve, 2008.  Like all ex-pats living here, Martin and his wife, Jane, can only stay if they have a valid residence permit, and having negotiated his own way around the system, Martin was happy to help his friends jump through the necessary bureaucratic hoops.  But as with many things here, the minute you get the hang of something, it changes and in April 2014, a new ministerial department was established to simplify the treatment of foreigners in Turkey.  Unfortunately lack of preparation and bad communication resulted in chaos, applications for permits even had to be temporarily put on hold: the new law couldn't be implemented as the promised new offices hadn't been opened.  The ex-pat rumour mill was running on full gas and there were lots of huffs and puffs about plots to make all the foreigners leave.  Those of us that have lived here a bit longer know that this is just the way with all new laws, practice takes a bit of time to catch up with the theory.  Having helped friends in the past, Martin joined a Facebook page set up to give information to foreigners facing problems  renewing their permits but was surprised to find hiimself banned after only 24 hours.  He realised that the site had been set up to plug a company charging folk for the application service and Martin's advice had not only been too good, but free.  So Martin set up his own Facebook page and 'Doc Martin's Surgery for Expats on the Bodrum Peninsula' was born. He then spent three weeks putting all his advice into practice, checking the most convenient places to find all the translators, notaries, photocopiers and insurance providers needed for a hassle-free experience. The site explains in the simplest terms, what you need, what you have to do and where you have to go and how much it will cost in Bodrum to apply for your residency. It will also tell you how to deal with all the other bureaucratic problems that crop up from paying your road tax to getting a Turkish driving licence.  The site now has 1600 members from all over Turkey, and as each municipality has its own quirks, it has become a sounding board for folks to find others in similar situations and share sound advice. Martin is very quick to shoot down hearsay and deal only in first hand experiences.  He is also the only site I have seen where British Consular staff get involved and provide the official UK government view on situations.  So I'm nominating Martin as a local hero as he does all this on a completely voluntary basis.  I think Jane needs a pat on the back too as 95% of the visitors to the site are female so Martin has a lot of ladies hanging on his every word.  





28 comments:

  1. I'm so pleased you decided to do this post about Martin as it is well deserved. Although you and I don't have to jump through all these RP hoops, I can see how helpful his accurate advice has been to many. He covers a lot of other topics too so I've found some really useful information on his page. Well done Martin

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    1. He must be saving a lot of expats a lot of headaches.

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  2. Every expat needs a Doc Martin....

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  3. Sounds marvelous and the perfect antidote to all the hearsay and half truths slopping around the forums about such things.

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  4. Very impressive and so well deserved, so good of him, every good town needs him - lovely post, Annie : )

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  5. Very important service, B to B. Really, ex pats need someone who is retired (and so has the time), and extremely patient. Good for Doc Martin and I'll spread the word.

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    1. Once dipped into, his site is not forgotten.

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  6. J and I have always managed to get an 'easy ride' when dealing with the bureaucracy here - of course, there have been periods of frustration caused through lack of understanding/language etc. We hear time and again horror stories (2nd hand) from others and wonder why. In 18 years we have never paid a back hander although we will often return with a box of cakes when staff have done a good job or been helpful. This year we will be applying for permanent residence permits and the nice police lady has already ensured that we have our ducks in a row. I was unaware of Martin's group but will apply to join.

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    1. Good luck with you permanent residencies. No more M plates after that.

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  7. Oh wow, how lovely to see him in person. We're members of that group purely because he keeps such good track of what's going on in the group and stops conversations going off on a tangent and becoming irrelevant. Not just a local hero - definitely a Muğla hero because we're in Fethiye and have found helpful advice. We're grateful for the group! :) We actually use a local official translator to do our official stuff such as this but it's still useful to know what's going on beforehand. :)

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    1. I thought putting a face to a name would be nice.

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  8. I am another fan of his accurate information. Although, of course, things in Izmir province are sometimes different. I'm never quite sure why that surprises people so much.

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    1. After the 2014 act, everywhere is supposed to be the same. One day.

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  9. Best ex pat site in Turkey, Well done Doc Martin for all the hard work, Your the best :)

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  10. Martin is a great guy - he gave me advice in 2009 on a chat forum about buying a motorcycle and some health and safety advice about maintaining it which has probably saved me coming off it a few times - many thanks Martin

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    1. Wishing you many more happy days on the open road.

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  11. I couldn't think of a more deserving person to receive this award. Without our Doc life would certainly be a lot more hassle for us ex pats and I can't thank him enough for his invaluable advice

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    1. Welcome Carol and thank you for joining in with the comments

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  12. Doc Martin has helped so many ex-pats here that he ought to be canonized, if that can be done here!

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  13. What a very kind and generous thing to do. He deserves all the praise and gratitude he obviously receives. Accurate information is such a boon.

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    1. His page has now gone over 2000 members

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  14. Is there any way we can stay in Turkey legally for 6 months every year? We have a residents permit for one year. janetanne

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    1. If you click on the pinned post at the top of Martin's page and read all the comments, I think you will find an answer to your question. It seems that next year you should come in on a travel visa and then apply for a 6 month resident permit. You can do this with travel insurance, as long as it mentions Turkey. This should negate the 120 day rule.

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