There are most definitely many fascinating aspects of calling Türkiye home. One of the perhaps lesser-known advantages is the country’s fantastic postal system. Today’s contribution explains the ‘how to’ and why it continues to feature as an absolutely essential part of everyday life.

The latter observation is probably ever more surprising when we consider that for many of us electronic forms of communication have become standard; the art of letter writing is all but extinct in far too many corners of our short messenger service – shared globe.

Then only think of our younger generation for a moment – in case your profession is of the teaching kind and mentioning the word essay in front of kids usually leads to confusion and anxiety as anything longer than a five-word SMS is theoretically a no-no.

But even whilst keeping these points in mind sooner or later we come to realize that a world without our good old post office does not make any sense, or does it? How come?

In Türkiye the postal network/operator is called PTT standing for ‘Posta veTelgrafTeşkilatı’ or national Post(al) and Telegraph Directorate. Its yellow, blue and red logo can easily be spotted from far away and in many towns and cities signposts direct you to your nearest PTT office without the need for going online and searching on internet maps.

Before you walk to the counter and in most bigger offices you will need to obtain a ticket and wait for your turn. Yes indeed, the reason for this organisational detail is that at certain times it might get rather busy, and it is not uncommon to spot quite a few people patiently waiting outside the PTT premises until their number is displayed on the screen. But once you start frequenting a local office more regularly you will realize that same as anywhere else some hours tend to be busier than others and thus any untoward queues can be avoided.

But why would you want to enter anyhow? Let me give you three examples. First, yes indeed, figuratively speaking there is the old-fashioned envelope which brings us here. Either we wish to deposit one such precious item and send it off or we like to collect something as the postman or post-lady called whilst we were outside our own four walls.

Second, we have decided to make someone dear to our hearts rather happy by dispatching a larger parcel containing a gift or other form of present or goods. Here the PTT comes in extremely handy as they have their very own cargo network, and the good news are that its tariffs are much more favourable when compared with many (though not all) competitors. As by definition the PTT in Türkiye is part of the global postal structure we know exactly that once at the other end it will de delivered by the postal equivalent of that country; at least to me this is a comforting thought; call it trust in and into an institution we all grew up with.

Third, you may wish to avail yourself of the e-government services of the Republic of Türkiye. Equipped with your ID number and a mobile phone at the ready you pay a minimal nominal fee, and a few minutes (if it takes that long at all…) thereafter receive a code which you can use as one-time password before changing it to your personal choice of numbers and letters, eight to be precise.

Above all else and what I find very positive besides thesethree ‘case studies’ mentioned above is of course the human factor. Unless we approach the annual holiday season and a substitute has been hired for a fortnight or so, chances are that over time, we get to know our post office staff in person. In particular with a view to the many fine more mature members of my family this is so rewarding as on the one hand a warm welcome is guaranteed once inside the local PTT whilst on the other hand every time the doorbell rings more or less the same time of the day, they know that ‘you have got mail’ – smiles all round included. Unless of course a bill has been dispatched which needs urgent attention of the monetary kind…

Which brings me to my one but last issue for this edition of The Ege Eye – is there a language obstacle hidden someplace, somewhere?

It is fair to say that learning a little foreign language goes a long interactive way so to speak. In bigger cities it is highly likely that at least one of the PTT staff would reply in English (or increasingly German, too) so communication is no problem at all. But is it not correct to say that as we are the new arrivals it is our responsibility to manage enough of the language to send or collect a postal item? Per return we are assured a most courteous welcome the next time we set foot onto our nearest PTT.

Should we decide to put all matters PTT into a wider societal picture there is one related subject which merits attention – it is the employment and career factor. When I was a young lad, it was totally normal for many of my age group to take up school holiday temporary jobs at the post office. Perhaps not behind the counter but as delivery boy or girl. And pay was very, very reasonable.

Besides, there are of course all those permanent positions which form a significant segment of nationwide employment.

Even if you have not sent a letter or other postal item for a long time, the next time you see a yellow-blue-red PTT sign in your neighbourhood why not consider trying it for yourself replacing the next SMS or e-mail with a handwritten letter to friends or family? Maybe you would just about make someone else’s day a little brighter, putting a smile on their face.

Enjoy the wonderful month of July in town, and benefit from an extended national holiday including the Feast of the Sacrifice and 15 July Democracy and National Unity Day – vacation, too.

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