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Wednesday, 10 March 2010


I worked as expert witness for Courts in Istanbul, translating piles of documents all day. The going was hard. It was difficult to get payments from the bureaucracy. Sometimes it took 6 months to get some money. High Inflation chew away my hard earned TL.

I received a phone call from one of the Notary Publics for whom I sometimes did certified translations. I was required at their offices.

I walked through the door. Puffing. Dressed in navy blue suit and a nice Italian tie. .

I saw a foreign woman of about 50. Red in the face, obviously highly distressed.

I introduced myself. She spoke in an impressive British accent.

The notary Public asked me to ` understand what this lady wants us to do, how we can help` He closed the door of his office. It was a hectic Sultanahmet afternoon with the occasional calls for prayer ringing in our ears.

`I’m devastated. I thought of committing suicide` the English woman said.

`I’ve been robbed`. I calmed her down by calling for some Turkish coffee first. I talked to her about my Australian connections etc. I explained I was a trained, registered interpreter/translator. Her story was long, she said. We left the Notary Public office. Found ourselves a coffee shop under a giant gum tree, next to the walls of the Blue Mosque.

About 5 years ago, she had met a man in Sultanahmet. She fell in love with him. She divorced her husband of 25 years. He is a professor of Art History. She herself was an Art Historian. All her life she lived in close contact with group of artists called `…………………………………`, who had worldwide followers.

This man started using the woman’s money from her share of marriage. The money amounted to at least 250 thousand American dollars. He first established a Pharmaceuticals company. He embezzled a lot of money from her. He showed her a piece of paper on which it was stated that she was a partner in company X.

He than obtained more money saying that he was going to start a money exchange bureau in Istanbul.

Years went by. The man never married the English woman as he claimed he would. He distanced himself from the woman as the months went by. The woman wanted to query about her investments. Discovered from the manner he deceived her that it would be almost impossible to recover the monies.

Almost all her savings were gone. She had some more money in England. Despite all of what happened, she wanted to live in Istanbul. She wanted to buy a place of her own in Istanbul.

Could you help me in this battle, I know it is difficult? She asked

This was not a simple Notary Public inquiry after all.

I could help her. We negotiated.

Stakes were high. I took her to the public prosecutor immediately. Late in the afternoon, the prosecutor was about to leave but he knew my face. I introduced myself. Briefly, the story was told. He directed us to the local police station but finally I persuaded him that that would take some time and the person may leave the country. Therefore, he endorsed the complaint letter I had prepared at the coffee shop. Now I had what I needed in order to bypass the local police and save precious time. I called some connections in the Police Headquarters Financial Matters Department. The English woman and I met them on the street. Three cops altogether. I knew only one of them. This was his team. We jumped into an old model, dark blue sedan. ` What is this guy’s name` one of the cops asked?

`………………………………` ` and you know his address? `


She showed the cops his house.

We were driven to Police headquarters 6th floor and asked to wait. Different police officer and women came into the room and met us. He talked in a very polite and friendly manner. She could not believe how fast things had happened. After about an hour my friend appeared.

` We got him`

The police asked if the English woman would like to speak to the man by herself. Yes, she said and asked that the Interpreter stay in the room, too. I stayed. The person accepted all the allegations but had no cash and started telling another many lies. He would sign a letter confirming his debt, he said. An agreement was reached. He had connections to one of Istanbul’s notorious mafia gangs. This was confirmed by the police. He had to surrender a whole lot of property back to the woman. From that day on various people stalked me, called me and hung up, I received threatening calls. However, this was work.

I helped her buy a building in Istanbul. She now owns one of the old timber Ottoman buildings next to a Roman Tower, a real one in Sirkeci-Istanbul, which I personally supervised and worked to restore.

I believe she is now working on a book and writes articles for some magazines in Turkey.

Doğan şahin...ıstanbul

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