Yesterday was my first day off post election coverage. I’d planned fun stuff to do in the day, meeting new people, yoga, a date and going to a screening to see an new film at Soho House.
Well most of that went out the window and was replaced with unnecessary paper work, agro and irritation. I returned home at 4.30pm after a coffee with a friend to find the lock on my metal gate broken and on the floor. The gate wide open and my front door broken with the door ajar.
A sense of dread filled me. “Oh f*** i’ve been burgled.” I didn’t even stop to think whether the thief/thieves were still in my flat. I pushed the door open cautiously and braced myself for the worse. Thankfully no damage and no one inside.
I am not into conspiracy theories but the way this robbery was carried out made me think about how journalists are viewed in Turkey. The place was not trashed, forensics later said there were no finger prints anywhere. Yet they went through my draws, looked at my passport, it was out of its sleeve, looked at my bank books, but they only stole my Mac Air work laptop and pro camera. I am gutted, all the images of most of the amazing adventures i have done across Asia and Africa in the last 6 months were on the memory card still in the damn camera!
The robber/s knew what to look for. Nothing else was taken. I am not a gadget person and I don’t own expensive stuff. There was no cash to take, but they didn’t take jewellry, that surprised me. The robbery happened in the space of 2 hours which makes me think I have been watched. I get a company car that picks me up and drops me to work every day. It clearly says TRT on the dashboard.
After the inital shock I called work to find out what the proceedure is here. I called the tourist police who sent local officers around….but of course they didn’t speak English. I then rang a dear Turkish work colleague to translate via the phone for me. Within 20minutes he was in my flat. He is an incredible friend who sacrificed his day off to help me and I am so touched and so very grateful.
TC (Turkish Cockney, he loves speaking in a faux East London accent when he sees me) stayed with me for seven hours translating first to the cops, then forensics, helping me to file a report at the police station in Taksim, speaking to my landlady about getting an alarm fitted asap and finding a locksmith to fit a new secure lock that night with a jamming device. He then opened his wallet and forked out 100 quid to pay the locksmith as I had no cash on me at all.
At 11pm when everything that needed to be done was, I bought him dinner and paid for his taxi home to say thank you. But it felt so inadequate because the time and patience he showed me was remarkable. I’ve known him less than 3 months and only in a professional capacity at work even though we exchange jokes and small talk.
I told him the smartest thing I’ve done since arriving in Istanbul was sitting next to him on day one during IT training. I have no idea how I would have coped without his help. Thank you TC I won’t ever forget this!!