Once in Turkish Jail Is Never Enough!

It was after midnight when we got back to the Emniyet.

“You are going to stay here for a few days,” my lawyer said gently.

“Okay do they have a room or-”

“No. You will be in the cell.”

“I will be in that cell. Until Monday?”


“Can I bring my Kindle?”


“Can I have a book?”


“Can I take a fucking shower?”


“Okay, that’s unacceptable. They’re going to put me in fucking solitary confinement for three days with no book.”

“Okay, calm down. Please calm down.”

“No! I’m sorry, you’ve been wonderful, but this is unacceptable! Can you do me a great favor and call the consulate?”

She got the consulate on the phone and I talked to a bored sounding night operator who transferred me to the lady who was on call.

“I am so sorry. Did I disturb you?”

“No no!” she said, though I’d clearly woken her up. I heard a small dog yelp in the background. “It’s no bother. how can I help?”

“Well, my name is Sarah Perrich, and I’ve been in contact with Beth about my little deportation problem…”

“Oh yes! I talked to your mother today.”

“Did you? Oh thank you. How did she sound?”

“Calm, considering. How are you doing?”

“Well, not great at the moment, honestly. I’ve been taken to the Rhitim police office. They are about to put me in a cell for at least a few days, probably through Monday. Because I’m the only lady here, this amounts to solitary confinement, and they aren’t allowing me a book. It strikes me that this violates several international laws.”

“That’s terrible.”

“I am prepared to be very cooperative, but I can’t do this without a paperback. I will go crazy in there.”

“I think that’s a very reasonable request.”

She made a few calls and my lawyer reported that I was allowed a book, and she would bring me one in the morning.

She went out and got me a few snacks, and a big bottle of water, and, cruelly, a Time Out Istanbul- the Arts edition. So I could read about all kinds of cool stuff I can’t do. And then I was alone in the cell. I drifted off. An hour later I was brought out again.

“We need another statement,” my lawyer explained apologetically.


I slumped in the chair.

“What is your address in America?”

I was so tired I couldn’t remember.

She talked to the policeman and they agreed I was too exhausted to give a statement that night. I was taken back into my cell. This time I took the three filthy, scratchy blankets and made myself a proper pallet on the bench.

At four thirty I was woken up again and put into a police car and taken to another office, with no explanation. At the other office my finger prints were taken again. Everyone seemed surprised that my finger prints had been taken before.

“Where?” one of the cops asked, genuinely perplexed.

“Rhitim.” I said through clenched teeth. They shrugged and took them again anyway. They took a second set of mugshots for good measure, and measured me and checked the color of my eyes and made me get on a scale.

And this, dear readers, is where I seriously almost lost my shit for real. The scale clearly read 54 kilos. Clearly.

“60 kilos!” the cop cheerfully called to the man recording my stats.


I was brought back to my cell and fell asleep again, and managed to sleep until about ten, when my lawyer woke me up with more water and a book of Agatha Christie short stories, all 500 pages of formulaic storytelling of which I would devour in the next two days.

I’ve now been in a coffee shop recounting all this for something like four hours. I will finish this sad tale tomorrow. Trust me- there is so much cop ridiculousness packed into the next few days- Turkish police are impossible to satirize because they’ve already done the job themselves better than anyone ever could.

This entry was posted in Deportation, Gezi Park, Istanbul, Kadikoy, Travel, Turkey, Turkish Jail, Turkish Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Once in Turkish Jail Is Never Enough!

  1. mom says:

    Yep, I heard the same dog.

  2. Every line I read is more familiar and more infuriating. You know your sentators? (I am harping, yes) Barbara A. Mikulski? I would write them myself but I can’t get past the residency requirement. Call an office, raise some hell!!!

  3. Ilke says:

    I am so so sorry about what you went through. I have followed the protests through social media and died each time I saw a beaten person or dead one. I really wanted to be on the streets , not in the US.
    I hope you get back to your life in Turkey.

  4. Alan says:

    reading on . . —->

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