TWO meetings attended by scores of expats was the order last Wednesday as they were given updates on a host of topics and issues from British Consul officers.
Izmir-based British Consul William Buttigieg MBE attended both meetings in Akbük and Altinkum, along with consul staff from Marmaris, Fethiye, Bodrum and Izmir.
The meeting in Akbuk was attended by about 80 people, with 40 turning out at the Didim get together.
The Consul staff members were there to observe how the meetings were structured and the response from expats as there are plans being laid to host consul meetings in their respective areas.
In a prepared speech, Mr Buttigieg informed residents on SGK state health insurance, wills, property, car log books and other traffic related matters, as well as residence permit and visa changes. He then took questions after each issue.
After the state health issue became mandatory and was then rescinded back in February, Mr Buttigieg told residents of further information he had received.
He said the UK NHS authorities had said that a British resident living out of the country for more than six months loses their right to the NHS but that right is instantly re-installed if they return.
He said that due to the rush of expats in Turkey joining the SGK under the mandatory rule and fine threat, many were now trying to cancel their applications after it was scrapped.
He said this presented a new difficulty for the
authorities as it was Turkish law that once an application had been made, it had to be completed. The authorities are now looking to amend the law.
He added that those still looking to join would still have to be fines dating back to the Feb 1 deadline on top of the average 213TL monthly charge. The Consul is presently trying to get that fine threat also lifted.
He said the 213TL charge was tied to the lowest wage earner salary, so had the potential of going up in the future as the wage scale was increased.
There is talk of a bilateral agreement between Britain and Turkey being negotiated, but was considered a long-term initiative.
He said it was law that a foreign national should apply and obtain a Turkish driving license after living in the country permanently for 12 months.
He said that he had heard from different provinces of the application process costing between 500TL and 800TL, while some had asked British nationals with old paper driving licences to obtain a new British driving licence card from Swansea before re-applying for a Turkish licence.
Turkish driving licences last a life time, although their maybe periodic eye checks required.
An increasing number of expats were facing problems of having only one name on their log books, even though they wished their spouses or other members of their family to drive the same vehicle.
He said that following a meeting with the Aydin’s police chief and traffic police chief, they were more than happy to allow applications in writing from expats asking for the log book to be altered. He said that only people with the same surname could apply, and was still trying to resolve those living with partners.
He said that a log book would allow up to six members of the same family to be on the log book.
Further information can be obtained from www.traffic.gov.tr – with all information in Turkish.
He said that while the Consul staff could not get involved with individual matters, he said that problems being faced by a large amount of people were being assessed. He said military permissions were now on average down to three days and advised the public on the correct and legal routes.
He said province governors were keen to hear about residents problems and fraud should be reported to either the public prosecutor or the police.
He said that a UK will was honoured in Turkey but advised people with property in Turkey to get a Turkish will that reflected this. He said that a copy of the will can be drawn up using an independent translator through the public notary and then it should be lodged with the title deeds office and the bank where the person had their savings.
Mr Buttigieg said that the cost of fishing licences for foreigners was about 160TL, while Turkish residents were being charged just 17TL. He had since spoken to the relevant authorities and the local governor aiming to get fees for foreigners adjusted.
The Didim governor said that if he had not had a satisfactory answer he would write to his bosses in Ankara to get the matter addressed.