Sunday, 29 May 2016

How to make life as difficult as possible.

I'm afraid many British immigrants here (sorry I hate the term expats so won't use it) are starting to believe that there is a concerted effort to make living here as difficult as possible.

There are residents permits to contend with.  There is a system of sorts but it seems dependent on the area in which you live as to whether you can sail through the process without problems.

You can't work without a work permit and they are not easy to obtain.  You cannot do a job that can be done by a Turk.  I actually agree with this up to a point.  It seems that teaching English is one of the few options open to foreigners.

It's always been possible to open a business here as a foreigner as long as you employ a certain number of Turkish nationals.  As far as I was aware if you met this criteria you could work in your business, but I think I may be wrong on that point.  Certainly in recent weeks it has come about that foreigners are now being fined and deported for not being aware of a change in the law in 2014 which apparently wasn't publicly announced (except as it seems in a newspaper called Resmi which covers such things, and which I frankly had never heard of before now).

One such lady in Didim bought a business a few years ago from another foreigner, has done everything by the book as she understood it, paid her taxes etc and employed Turks.  She wasn't even working herself but was quite suddenly told that she would have to leave the country in 30 days as she didn't have a work well as having to pay a hefty fine.  One could say that she should have made herself aware of the changes, but frankly it's impossible to keep up.  Laws are made or revised constantly, goalposts are moved, and even those in authority who are there to implement and uphold the laws don't always understand them.  Sadly, this lady has four young children, and has also during her time here done a lot for her local community.  She is very much appreciated by those who know her, and who are trying to raise funds to help her.

I am fortunate to have been married at a time when things were a lot simpler.  I automatically obtained dual nationality upon marriage, which allows me to live here without a residents permit, to work, to fact everything that a Turkish national is entitled to.  If this wasn't the case, and I had to jump through all these hoops, I very much doubt I would still be living here.

Kaya has now traded the motorbike in for a car.  We realised that it was going to be impossible to manage without one.  I haven't driven for a number of years.  The photo on my UK license expired a couple of years ago and I didn't renew it because I no longer have an address in the UK.  However, I showed this, along with the paper license to the traffic police in Bodrum in November and they assured me that I could have my license translated and noterised and as long as I had exit and entrance stamps on my passport every 6 months I could drive here.  I was a bit wary of this advice but got the translation and had it noterised.

The law then changed again in January and UK licenses now have to be exchanged for Turkish ones unless the 6 month date stamps can be shown on passports.  This isn't helpful for those immigrants who don't leave the country on a regular basis who will now have to do so, or change their licenses. I recently learned that as a dual national I could have exchanged my license years ago.  I wish I had known before it expired because if I want a Turkish license now I will have to take a driving test.  This is something that fills me with horror and it also costs money that we cannot afford.

So I have this car parked in front of the house which I can't  drive.

 So I will have to make a decision at some point about taking a test.   I'm reluctant to rush into doing this as I have no doubt the law will change again.

It's not easy here for foreigners these days and it's no wonder many are deciding to up and leave.

NOTE:  There is a wonderful page on Facebook to help foreigners through all the red tape.  It's called Doc Martin's Surgery for Expats in Turkey and you can find it by clicking this LINK


  1. Sounds all too one point you could not open a bank account if you did not have residence which caused a great headache for holiday you can, but only up to a certain limit in the account....

    Tax on companies was declared unconstitutional and we are still waiting for the National Assembly to decide how much we are to pay and when...and then the inevitable challenge in the Constitutional Court...

    And the wildly unpredictable demands when you renew your residency...! All you actually need is your old card, proof that you pay your health service contributions and the fee for renewal, but as the service has been hived off to the banks you get mad demands for letters from the Embassy to prove that you have the income upon which you were assessed for residency which causes mad panic if you take it seriously...
    Good luck with the driving situation!

    1. It's bureaucracy gone mad Helen. Very frustrating isn't it?


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