Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Points of Light in Dark Days

The Planning Session
This was one of those days where you didn't know whether to laugh or cry...on one hand we had an entire community turn out to help us navigate our way through this increasingly messy Visa and Registration snafu, and on the other hand the fees and penalties rose higher and higher.
Once the news of our predicament worked its way through the neighborbood we were overwhelmed by offers of help and advice from neighbors, shop keepers, friends and even strangers. Our phones and doorbell rang well into the midnight hours last night.
The key players in all of this were, once again, Kemal, Levent and the Colonel-Murat Bay. Throughout last night and this morning they had been meeting and had finally reached a decision--it was worth the effort to try and get the government to see their way to reducing these amazingly high fees.
Kemal, My Go to Guy

Today, once I hit the street I found out that my day had already been planned for me. My retired Turkish Colonel was waiting to go with me to the "Tax Office" to wage war on my behalf. Without a chance to hesitate we were off and into the central office for the processing of taxes and motor vehicle fees.
Murat Bay didn't mince words as he explained our problem to the clerks behind the desk, in fact his diplomacy and reputation quickly won them over to our side. We were ushered into see the "Cheef" who also agreed that we were not at fault for an error in the computer system. Calls were made, documents stamped and signed and within 3 or 4 hours we were told that there was just one signature left that was needed to wipe out the extra fees and lower our debt to just a few hundred dollars.
The Cheef called Ankara and after a lengthy and heated discussion (of which I only understood the epithets) he hung up with bad news. The Ankara office refused to lower the penalties and fees and had, in fact, increased them. They attributed it all to a "suit" sitting in a windowless office.
Murat Bay's Game Face

So, we leave you today spinning around the news that we are about $5000 in the hole on just the vehicle registration, and another 3k-4k deeper on the Resident Visas. All in all it has been a cheap lesson.
Are you still with me? Wake up and listen to at least this line...here we are foreigners living in a country on the far side of the world whose religion, customs and culture are not our own. In fact, I come from a country today that is not as well thought of as it used to be. But in the face of it all these amazing Turks have stepped into the gap for us and have done all that was possible to rectify a problem that was ours--not theirs.
Yep, we are broke and the next few months look pretty dark and uncertain. But today we saw some light poking through the darkness from the hearts of a people who have accepted and loved our family as if we were one of their own.
I may be newly "poor and needy", but I feel as if I am king of the hill with the wealth of friends Turkey has given us. All in all...not a bad lesson for a few thousand bucks, when it all goes to hell its amazing to see who steps in to throw you a rope. From our perspective, all is well when you live with a few million Turks who have your back covered.


Anonymous said...

Stan! Let me know if I can help...I don't have much but all I gots is yours! Allen

Silk Road Nomads said...


Things will work out. No worries, anyhow you saved my life more than once....(49th & Winona/College & Montezuma to name a few). There are still times I miss Mongolian Lamb, Greek Corner and the beat, but I always miss you. Our kids can't wait to see the Terminator I worked with. Love ya buddy.

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World