We foolishly mislaid our Turkish mobile phone a few weeks ago and replaced it with a little second hand number. It looked quite nice in the display cabinet but this turned out to be just an illusion. The bloody thing started to fall apart the minute we got it home, and after a few days it became impossible to see the screen after dark. Like the rest of the World, Turks have begun an enduring love affair with mobile telephony though it’s difficult to imagine how most people can afford it since even a modest phone costs the average weekly wage. There are three main phone operators in Turkey – Turkcell (by far the biggest), AVEA and good old British Vodafone. I thought it quite reasonable to expect a little healthy competition. Not a bit of it. As far as I can see the whole market works as a cartel. So, during his mercy dash to Blighty, Liam bought a new phone. It cost a fiver. Thank the Madonna for Virgin.
It turns out you can’t just buy a phone willy-nilly and swap the SIM card over. Oh, no. All phones must be registered with the State. Apparently it’s an anti-terrorist measure. It probably facilitates phone tapping which I read is surprisingly commonplace. Off we trotted to the main Turkcell shop in Bodrum to discharge our legal obligations. We were processed by a cheery young woman with forearms hairier than Liam’s. She sorted us out in no time with a registration form in triplicate with two official stamps on each copy and countless photocopies of Liam’s passport and residency permit. There are now enough copies of his official identity in circulation to supply the Israeli Secret Service for years.