We need a mobile phone in Turkey. We need one for several reasons. Most obviously it is cheaper to contact people who live here if we don’t have to make international calls. I’m not sure whether calling the UK is marginally cheaper but it’s certainly no more expensive. Secondly you need one to access those bank accounts who like to send you a code via your mobile for internet banking.
We went to a Vodaphone shop in Kuşadası as we (mistakenly as it turned out) thought it would be easier to get yabancı stuff done in a large resort than it would here in Selçuk. But we had a series of problems (most of which are now solved). They told us that it is only possible to register a UK mobile for the length of one’s visa. Ours is still a tourist visa (90 days from entry) – one of the things we need for our residence permit is enough money in a Turkish bank and as Garanti need a Turkish mobile to give me Internet banking, I need a mobile… It can get very circular. Also, they pointed out a problem with our visas. The chap who stamped them in Istanbul didn’t re-ink his stamp so you couldn’t read the date on Ashley’s and you could only just read the date on mine. The Vodaphone lady told us that we could get this corrected at customs. From this point of view it was a good thing we were in Kuşadası – we headed for the port.
Getting to the passport office was an adventure in itself. At various stages we were confronted by security guards who needed to see our boarding passes (which, as we were not boarding, we did not have) but let us past when we explained there was a problem with our passports (a little Turkish seems to go a long way with these guys – and we learned to pronounce gümrük correctly). The passport office officials were helpful and we sat in the café watching cruise passengers pass for about ten minutes before being issued with bits of paper showing our last few entries and exits from Turkey along with an official stamp and signature. These now need to be kept with our passports.
Back to Vodaphone where they told us, if we registered the UK phone for the extent of our current visa we couldn’t register it again unless we wait 2 years. Sensible, therefore, to wait till we have the permit. Instead we bought a new Turkish phone (cheapest possible) with a new Turkish sim card and got put on to a special tourist pay as you go deal.
Back in Selçuk we couldn’t make the new phone work. We got the menus into English without too many problems but it kept saying the number was not valid. A quick trip to the Vodaphone shop in Selçuk revealed a) the people in the Selçuk shop speak better English and are even more helpful than the people in the Kuşadası shop (who, to be fair, are a lot busier) and b) the Kuşadası shop had forgotten to register the Sim. We have to go back to Kuşadası to get this put right. I’m sure it won’t be too much of a problem but that’s another 20 lira for the two of us to get there and come back. Should have gone to the shop in Selçuk in the first place. Well, we will know another time.