Holding Pattern


From the Beyoglu Noter's Office #9 circa 1980

Caravansarai’s lawyer dumped us a couple of months ago because we ask too many questions, thereby shattering a far too delicate Turkish male ego. I think what we were supposed to do is just throw money at the guy and trust that he would take care of everything. As it was, our questions didn’t provide adequate padding against rushed and hurried mistakes and shoddy registrations. So now we have a new lawyer, and we will let him take care of everything. Not because we trust him, but because we are just exhausted by the hilarity of trying to run a business in Turkey, and we need to concentrate on our projects (our show in Stockholm) and not on legal issues (work visa’s, evictions, rental contracts, etc.)
So our new lawyer is cute, and funny, and is preparing to make a niche for himself representing foreign performers and artists. First he has to get his English up to speed, and he is so determined that he decided as a side job he would become a translator for the ubiquitous Notary system here. Foreigners are required to have translators for every single notarized or official transaction in Turkey, even if our Turkish is better than the translator’s English. Which is almost always. Just last night, we were look for the notarized official translation copy of my passport and found it mistranslated. What sort of information is on a passport? Name, Date of Birth, Birthplace, Issuing municipality. . . . I know those words in Turkish. But apparently whoever translated my passport believes that the month of January (when I was born) is in June (which is how he translated it –Haziran). And for this I was forced to pay 100TL.
Visitors to Turkey often want to see the seat of the Ottoman Empire. They go to Topkapi Palace, and eat in restaurants which specialize in Ottoman Cuisine. But if you really want a slice of Ye Olde Ottoman Life, spend a little time in the Notary’s office. Despite the overbearing photos of Ataturk suspended over every Notary’s desk, the system is 100% pre-Republic Ottoman Turkey, right down to signs designating different functions, which still retain the Ottoman Turkish names. The one concession to modernity being that now they are written in Latin instead of Arabic script.
Off to meet with the lawyer now. I have a new client for him. My friend, Anton, is about to get deported back to Slovenia for having the nerve to actually try to work here. And so it goes. . .


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