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Mother of the Nation

3 Mayıs 2013

Anne von Breitenstein

It’s my sixth or eighth week in turkey and I am just about to pick up my residence permit from the police station. That actually sounds simpler than it is. This is my forth time here. I was appalled when I came here the first. I am used to German standards and in my eyes this place is a mess. But therefore not worse than the German system. Just Germans would hide the stupidity of bureaucracy behind a fussy clean facade. Turks don’t even care what you could think of them. Instead the police is armed to the teeth and shows up whenever they can. But when you think you are safer than you are naïve. A policeman just does his or her job and I mean it literally. Somebody robbed you and you run to the next policeman for help? He will most probably lift his hands and look at you saying, I take care of the traffic, robbery is not my business. So just run behind the thieve yourself or better take care of your stuff.


But even if you are in the right department you can never be sure. I had an appointment for my residence permit at 8pm. The officer took my papers, signed and told me to pay the very next day because the counter already closed. For real? You have to know that the police station is on the other side of the city far behind Eminonu. It took me one and a half hour to get there, two to find. He shrugged his shoulders about my complains. Nobody speaks English. Fine. One day later. Rain. I came early. I paid and he handed out the documents back to me. No, take them and prepare my residence permit, I thought. So I returned them back to him. We repeated this game two more times. He understood. He gestured that I have to bring the documents to the guy I got them from. Ah, no problem I smiled. He will start work 5.30pm, the guy made me understand. It was 11am. No way. This place was crowded with bored policeman and nobody was able to transfer my papers in the other room!? Somehow the insane asylum in “Asterix conquers Rome” came in my mind. Mmh… Now, two weeks later, two police boys finally look at my residence permit and… burst out in laughter.


Why? Let me introduce myself to you: My name is Anne. In Turkish: Benim adim Anne. My name is Mama. My name is all over, kids and adults are calling for me. Okay, it is funny, but would you now please give me my residence permit!


By the way to go to the police station four times to get your residence permit was even one of the fast ones.




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