Thursday, 5 February 2015
What you can't live without in Turkey
Folders, dossiers and a decent filing system. We can manage with an irregular water supply, sporadic electricity and no Marmite but you won't last long here without a way of accumulating official paper work. The general rule of thumb is to photocopy thrice every bit of paper that is issued to you from a government office and keep them all. I am a lazy filer but I have a drawer where important papers are shoved and it can usually be relied upon to produce what I'm looking for, even though it does have to be completely emptied before I find it. My husband periodically gets fed up with this and buys more folders which we fill with the contents of the magic drawer. Six months later however, I guarantee I'll be back stuffing the drawer. I've been reading the exasperated comments on Doc Martin's surgery for ex-pats from foreigners living here about the hoops they are having to jump through to get or maintain their residency and several seem to think that this extra bureaucracy is laid on especially for the immigrants, but dealing with government offices is just as complex for a Turkish national. I went to check I'd paid my environmental tax to be told that my council tax hadn't been paid since 2009. We were presented with a computer printout with an impressive list of zeros in the "paid" column and a frightening figure in the "owing" one. I was confident it had been paid it but I now had to prove it. This involved spreading the entire contents of the drawer over the living room floor and driving to the village house which also has "a drawer". Eventually every receipt was in place and we headed in triumph to the Municipality to hand over our proof. The documents were whisked upstairs and 10 minuted later the official returned empty handed to say that we didn't owe anything. I was extremely glad we'd photocopied all the receipts because I'm sure if this can happen once, it probably will again.