Sayın Zafer Bey!
Back in January, we posted about our experience obtaining our residence permit at the Yabancı Şubesi (Foreigner Office) in the İstanbul Emniyet (Police Headquarters), an experience we compare unfavorably to visiting a Central Asian gynecologist. We commended your operation for gradually imposing order by requiring folks to take a number and reducing the number of windows one has to visit and the number of stamps necessary to just one. We took this as a sign that, over the three years we have been obtaining residence permits, Turkey is, yavaş yavaş, becoming more civilized.
Well! After that post, you kindly left a comment, which we ignored at the time, because, just like the gynecologist, we avoid thinking about the Yabancı Şubesi except the one day a year when we have to go there, asking us to provide some constructive criticism*. Little did we know that you already had some improvements in mind for the operation that closely track the kind we might have suggested. You should have run them past us! We would like credit for them (Your original comment along with a hasty translation are below).
Recent reports from the Correspondent Formerly of Kathmandu and Beirut and Now of Istanbul indicate that the changes made since January, are in a word, awesome. If you follow her work, you know she specializes in reporting on Epic Failures for Carpetblog. Based on her experience at the Yabancı Şubesi, one might conclude its management has been turned over to a pack of wild dogs. But we think that's unfair.
Gone was that experiment with internet-based appointments (did anyone really think that would work?). On her first visit, she was told that in order to get a number to turn in the documents for her permit, she would have to get in line across the street from the Emniyet, starting at 2 am. She did this and was relieved to see an orderly and friendly group already formed. She took the 18th place in line and made friends.
When 8:30am rolled around and numbers were handed out, she was discouraged to receive number 74. How did this happen? Comrades-in-line deduced that the first 50 numbers had been sold by an "entrepreneur" who, after "picking a fight" with other line-standers, was "detained" by the police with a show of force so convincing observers concluded the entrepreneur could only be another police officer. The ability to pretend you're not doing what you're doing is what separates Turkish police and waiters from all those yahoos in FSU. We admire that. Those people are savages.
After navigating the YS's signless maze (you might consider posting directional signs in Turkish, though definitely not in any other language), CFKBNI finally coughed up more than 770 YTL for a document that confers few meaningful benefits. We paid less than 600 YTL three years ago. Inflation! You have it! Play that card if it's your hand. Carpetblog approves, as long as you don't use the extra fees to improve the Yabancı Şubesi customer service.
We here at Carpetblog were becoming worried that Turkey was losing that developing world "edge" that foreigners always appreciate, especially when it comes to dealing with police and bureaucracies. We are relieved our fears were misplaced! If CFKBNI's experience this week was any indication, the Istanbul Emniyet has become concerned, too, and opted to rely on its old skool habits for dealing with "visitors."
*Just FYI, our contract with the "Constructive" Division of the Criticism Department expired long ago.
26 Ocak 2009'daki Yabancılar Şube ziyaretiniz ve yaşadıklarınıza ait
deneyimlerinize yer verdiğiniz yazınızı okudum.
Önerilerinizin yapıcı olacağı ve daha faydalı olacağına inandığınız
düşünceşerinizi, bizimle paylaşmanız.. saat 03.37 olmasına rağmen iyi niyetli yaklaşımlara her zaman açık olan emniyet teşkilatını memnun edici motivasyona taşıyacaktır. Yazınızdaki tutum ötesinde, gözlemlerinizin sizde olması gereken çözüm
önerisi nedir? konusundaki fikirlerinizide oraya taşımış olmanız bizleri mutlu ederdi.
Yanıtınızı bekler, iyi niyetli ve yapıcı olacak önerileriniz için şimdiden teşekür ederim.
İst. Em. Md.lüğü Yabancılar Şube Çözüm Ortağı
I read your writing regarding your visit to the Yabancilar Subesi on 26 January 2009 and your experience.
With the belief that you intend your proposals to be constructive and more beneficial share with us ... Despite the fact that the hour is 3:37 a.m., the police staff, which is always open to good-intentioned approaches, that carry a motivation that will please the police staff.
Besides/beyond the manner of your writing, had you included in that writing your ideas on proposals for solutions, which your observations surely must have given you, that would have made us happy.
I am awaiting your response, I thank you in advance for your suggestions that will be good intentioned and constructive.
Zafer Isik, Istanbul Police Department's Yabancilar Sube's manager of