This post is a public service announcement for all the Aussies out there living in Turkey but still fecking around with their Australian driver’s licences.
Now anyone who has been reading my blog for a while now knows I’ve had my fair share of issues driving in this great country. There was, of course, the great One Finger Salute of 2018, a tale so infamous that the story is still whispered in certain circles both here in Mersin AND in Adana, as well as copious near-misses, traumatic incidents and, well, just general bok involving shitty Turkish drivers!
But that’s not the point of this post.
Let me start again before I get completely off the track.
I love Australia. It’s the lucky country. It’s the land of sweeping plains (and a summer of fecking awful bushfires). And sure, everything might be trying to kill you, but its still a tremendous fecking country. But—
“OMG! Is Janey actually going to bag out Australia?”
Okay… maybe a little bit.
Here’s the thing, I’ve held a valid NSW driver’s licence and have been driving for a little over 33 years now (guess my age!).
Anyone who lives in Turkey knows that waayyyy back in 2016 all foreign driver’s licences had to be exchanged to a Turkish driver’s licence or you had to leave the country every six months to get a new incoming stamp in your passport. I told The Turk back when we needed to transfer our driver’s licences before the cut-off date, and he did transfer HIS driver’s licence. Mine? Hmmm. Nope. We’ll do yours later. But the cut-off! No, it’s fine. Well, it wasn’t “fine”, but you just can’t teach a moron new tricks, can you?
To be honest, I loved the idea of leaving the country every six months, after all coming from a country where it would typically take you a day of travel (and most of your sanity) to arrive in Europe, I thought, yeah, I’m going to hop on planes every chance I get!
Real-life isn’t like that, though, is it?
It was long past time for me to transfer my NSW driver’s licence for a sürücü belgesi (Turkish driver’s licence).
I can’t transfer it?
Why the feck not?
Because fecking Australia is not a signatory to the UN Treaty Convention of Road Traffic Act, that’s why.
It seems that instead of Australia joining pretty much the rest of the world and having an across the board set of driving laws, each State has their own no doubt unique laws. I understand why. I mean Australia is freaking huge so it needs different laws for different states but, let’s be honest, if we can’t get our shit together back in Oz, then we’re not going to be invited to any of the cool parties like those keggers at the UN! Bullies!
So way to go guys! Ninety-one other countries have managed to get their bok together but us Aussies are standing at the front door without an invite? I also noticed that New Zealand isn’t on that list. Can’t imagine why unless they have different laws for North and South. Jacinta needs to get onto that pronto (and maybe she can fix Australia up while she’s getting shit done).
Anyway, it was time.
It had to be done.
I was going to apply for a Turkish Driver’s licence.
Off I went to a company here in Mersin who undertook driving courses. A Turkish driver’s licence requires the learner to take weekly classes and pass a written test. Bollocking bok!
The Company also provided me with a learner’s manual in English. Not the Queen’s English, mind you. More like Drunk Google English. Have a go at this:
METALLICA!!! At least it didn’t say Bon Jovi because that really wouldn’t have made any sense, would it?
I also was given a link for practice exam questions. Again I started to wonder if Google wasn’t just drunk but quite possibly on crack!
I pray that if I’m ever in a coma my saviour doesn’t refer to this page for their medical advice. Seriously. I’d be screwed.
Anyway, all joking aside, I took the exam and passed like a total boss! Google had definitely sobered up by the time I took the exam as the questions were easy to comprehend. Thank goodness!
After a few mandatory driving lessons (by a teacher who was 31 so wasn’t even an itch in his dad’s balls when I got my valid licence back in Oz) I took my driving exam (which, in my case, was a set course on the wild streets of Mersin) and guess what???
I now hold a valid Turkish driver’s licence! Another feather in my Turkish cap.
For those of you who are looking at obtaining their Turkish driver’s licence, all bok aside it’s a pretty easy undertaking. Check out Doc Marten’s page for the most up to date information.
The only very real glitch was that you need your school certificate, leaving certificate or even your TAFE or university degree. I know it’s a pain but the documents can be obtained even if you are older than Methuselah, like me (this is the link for the NSW replacement but all the Aussie states have something similar). I also took my test in an automatic car so don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done because it bloody well can!
Oh, and the price? I’m told it varies greatly from city to city but the full course, classes, written exam and driver’s exam usually costs 1500TL. There is also a payment to have the licence issued which is approximately 920TL.
Watch out, Mersin! Now I really can drive like a local, which means while I promise never to give anyone the one finger salute again what I CAN do is eat sarma while yelling on my mobile, with five goats on my backseat, an angry teyze beside me, while blasting Takan at a bazillion decibels as I drive down the otoban in my 1994 unregistered rust-bucket Tofaş Doğan doing 180kph!
I actually have another driving story to tell you as well, but I’ll save that for another day because I’ve got real-life shit to get on with.
Important: If you are driving on a foreign licence and do not obtain an incoming passport stamp every six months it is not only illegal but in the case of an accident, Turkish insurance companies will require a copy of your passport and last entry stamp page be included with the claim documents. If the passport stamp is out of date, then the insurance policy is invalidated, and you will personally be held responsible for the accident. In the case of a fatality, you can be sued for future financial loss by the deceased person’s family.
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When I visited NZ, my SIL said I could have the use of her vehicle should I want to go anywhere on my own, but I was content to walk everywhere locally and put fuel in the car when she took me out to see the sights. I should add that her car was an automatic and I have never been comfortable driving one, so didn’t want to crash it. I’ve been driving 42 years Jane, and I wasn’t a teenager when I passed my test!!
Ugh, I relate to this so much! I had to get a driver’s license here in Japan, and it was a super pain in the ass and way harder than your ordeal (which is unsurprising, having lived in both places). Congrats!