Catching the Midnight Express
As if to say a final “Fuck off” Turkey had one more surprise up its sleeve for me as I tried to leave for the final time. To be locked up in a Turkish jail for a day and a court appearance!
And the day started so well, nice early check in for my final flight to the UK, THY desk graciously overlooked my extra 6Kgs on the baggage, got an emergency exit seat, sorted.
Nice relaxing flight to Istanbul, good breakfast, enjoyable. Landed at Istanbul and went through to International departures, daunted at the HUGE passport control queue started queuing as quickly as possible as the connecting flight departure was looming. Got to passport control and some furtive checks between passport and computer screen and some phone calls heralded a “can you just stand over there please” request from where I was collected and taken to the Passport control polis.
After asking various shaved monkeys in uniforms what the hell the problem was one finally grunted and threw me a printout with text so small you’d need an electron microscope to see and said I had a “criminal complaint against me and a court case pending so I couldn’t leave Turkey”!!!!
WTF?! OK this sounded serious and I knew I’d done nothing wrong, had played by the book all my time in Turkey and had no idea about any court proceedings but by now my connecting flight had gone, the Polis had confiscated my passport and I was “escorted” by armed guards to a waiting polis van where we went to the airport HQ and me and another guy were rudely bundled into a holding cell and told to wait.
11:00 No explanation, no charges, no one who can speak English, requests for water ignored
12:00 same, no change, decide to try and get some kip
13:00 few new guys thrown in with us, thinking of getting a gang tattoo
13.10 tried calling the British embassy but there was no one to help as they were all in a meeting! could come after the weekend on Monday though !
14:00 Beat Mehmet the Goat shagger at poker, o benim beeyatch simdi
Was bundled into the van again and we went off to the local courts, when we arrived a guy came and introduced himself in English and said he was employed by the court to help me, only 6 hours since detention that someone who can speak English has come, I excitedly asked him if he knew what the problem was? No! Apparently no-one did till we get in front of the prosecutor.
After loads of paperwork we went to see the prosecutor and he read the “criminal complaint”, an ex-client who was an atrocious asshole had complained that I had (as the Turkish translation read) “let him down in carrying work in trust”, in real language, he accused me of breach of contract. FUCKING ALLEGED BREACH OF CONTRACT! THAT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE WORTHY OF A DAY OF DETENTION?!! The first glaring illegality is that I had a limited company and paid a fecking small fortune each month for it to enable the benefits and protections a limited company offers, in any case such as this the COMPANY gets taken to court NOT ONE OF THE DIRECTORS! But as we all know the law is made up on the spot in Erdogans Turkey.
I tried to stay calm and when I had the chance to ask some questions I did, now when the prosecutor read the charge the whole nasty affair came flooding back as this happened like 6 years ago. I had been asked to make 3 interconnected websites and I did an awesome job with some state of the art booking technologies and spent a fortune on getting them running great, then the ahole client starts requesting complex added functionality never agreed on and refuses to pay more for it, it becomes clear he is doing this to avoid paying for the sites and sure enough he starts demanding his money back so he can have his sites AND his money back. I refuse as he has had 3 complete and working sites delivered over and above contract terms. He threatened court but I NEVER received ANY notification at all that he had initiated a court case nearly 6 years ago.
Leaving aside the fact that an ALLEGED breach of contract complaint with ZERO EVIDENCE can cause someone to be in detention for a day (that could well have been 3 days if I arrived late Friday as courts dont work weekends so Id be in jail for 3 days!)
Anyway, I ask if there is a date on the complaint? No
Is there a statute of limitation on issues like this? Yes, 5 years, if no action taken on the case for 5 years its binned
Is there a cutoff date where the complainant has to make an official complaint? Yes, 6 months
Again, is there a date on the complaint? No
So I have to try and stay calm while pointing out the blindingly obvious:
So Mr. Prosecutor, there is no date on the complaint, IF it was done 6 years ago as I can prove then by now the case should have been thrown out and I shouldn’t be here, correct? Yes
And if the complaint was made recently (as I have traveled in and out of Turkey many times with no hassle) then it would be well over the 6 month limit to submit a complaint yes? Yes
So what the fuck am I doing here? They just wanted to take my statement, my statement on a case that shouldn’t even exist and I had no idea existed till I got bundled into a jail cell.
And THAT my friends is how Turkey works, any unsubstantiated accusation can lead someone to be detained and have their liberty stolen purely on hearsay, Napoleonic Law in action, the accused is guilty till they prove their innocence and Erdogans state of emergency has only hastened the whole shit show.
The “helper” also told me that because of the purge of 50% of all polis and judges that the workloads for the remaining ones are stupidly high and mistakes are becoming more common and its basically out of control.
I was told I was free from custody, the Polis dropped me back to the airport where I collected my “lost and found” bag taken off the connecting flight I was made to miss, I had to rebook flights, find a hotel room and rebook hire car, all costing a cool 2000TL that I wasn’t planning on spending when I woke up!
Can I get accountability or compensation? Not in AKPs Turkey you cant.
I am so glad to be leaving this intelligence forsaken country. Fuck you Turkey.