Continuing Adventures in Turkish Detainment

When we last left off, I’d been awoken in the middle of the night to have a cıgarette, and I thought, “this is my last cigarette for a while.” And I was right.

I never quite caught how long cops are on duty, but the police chief who didn’t like me was on duty starting in the late afternoon, and that’s when I got locked in the cell again with only Agatha Christie for company.

I read some more, after that cigarette, until I fell asleep. I woke up at some point in the wee hours of the morning, (I lost track of time completely in that place, which was perhaps the cruelest thing. I could roughly keep track of when it was day or night, but that was it) and there were two more girls in my cell with me. I offered them blankets from my three blanket pallet, and they refused. I asked them if they were çapulcu, and they said yes. I raised a fist and said, “Diren.” And then rolled over and fell fast asleep again. When I woke up they were gone, and some very nice looking gentlemen were being led out of the cell next to me. I later learned they were journalists. Sorry, fellas. You’re fucked in this country.

I woke up and sipped my lawyer’s water and read for a bit. It was broad daylight (I think) but hours passed an no one came to check on us. I read. I straightened my pallet and fussed over my plastic bags. I walked in figure eights for a while and did deep knee bends. Stood on the back bench, by the window, and just about, through slats, standing on tiptoe, made out blue sky. I got down and did that thing where you go from tippie toes to a squat to tippie toes. I swung my arms. I was bored. I sat down to read.

There was another fella in the cell next to mine, and he started to get agitated. He banged on his bars for a quarter hour straight, and when that didn’t work he started cursing in various latinate languages- I don’t know Italian, and my grasp on French is reduced at best, my Spanish is from Sesame Street, but I got the gist. I’m a whore. The police are whores. America is a whore. Obama is a whore. I’m a whore. America is a whore. The police are whores. BANG BANG BANG. MOTHERFUCKERS. BANG BANG BANG. I’m a whore. The police are whores. America is a whore. Obama is a BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG…

I’d been up for several hours at this point, and hadn’t peed. It wasn’t urgent, but it would’ve been nice to go. The racket next door went on for a two and a half Agatha Christie stories before I finally stood up and said, as loudly as I could,

“Pardon? Effendim?”

I repeated it and one of the blackshirts who liked me opened the door with a bang.

“Elaizabeth? What’s wrong?!” (I’m not being coy about my identity at this point, perhaps to the detriment of my reentry. Everyone in the police station called me Elizabeth.)

I was surprised to find myself crying. Quick emotional inventory found that I could handle solitary, but not with this guy screaming punta at everything and banging bars.

I shuddered and pointed to the cell next door, and made the univerals sign for ‘he’s crazy.’

‘Don’t worry, Elizabeth. Don’t worry.’

He disappeared and returned with another guard. Crazy bangy-pants was let out to pee, demanding crazy things like food and cigarette breaks. Then I was allowed to pee, and then we were both allowed out for a minute. The guard who liked me assured me everything would be okay. He mistook my frustration for genuine fear and kept himself between me and bangy at all times. He took us out a side door and allowed us each a cigarette. I stared at the trees swaying in the wind and thought, ‘if I could just see a bird, I’d be happy.’ I saw no birds, and felt no sunshine, and didn’t get to walk around, but I saw the tree branches swaying in the wind and that was something. Guard who liked me took in crazy-bangy-pants and allowed me a whole five minutes more, in solitude, but staring at the sky. I finally saw a crow.

I felt so much better, you have no idea.

I was led in. Bangy stopped by his locker and I learned why I hadn’t heard from him before- apparently he’d been downing sleeping pills back to back and only coming up to agitate for the bathroom and cigarette breaks.

I found jail to be it’s own sleeping break. I firmly told my brain not to think about what I was losing by being deported, and with nothing else to do, my brain got sleepy and I fell asleep.

Repeatedly.

The next day was the best. I was roused from my cell, after successfully staging my own toilet break, during which I took a quick whore’s bath and brushed my teeth and changed my unmentionables, to sit in the chief’s office. I thought my lawyer had come, but, oh no! better! In walked Rachel!

I leapt into her arms and spat out a few tears. For those of you who are keeping track, yes, by this point I’d cried more than in an average two years.

“Hey Mija! Tall me what’s goin on! I was told to bring you clothes so here-” she handed me a cloth shopping bag, “are some clothes, and toothpaste and deoderant! So I didn’t know where you were til a few hours ago. I thought you were in Kartal. What’s going on?”

“Well, this is great, but I actually need you to go home and pack me up all the dirty clothes you can get your hands on. Cause I’m being deported.”

“Oh, Mijah.”

I explained the particulars briefly.

“So Sesame, bless him, packed me two suitcases ,n one. He didn’t realize that one suitcase was nestles within another, he thought that was some brave new design in baggage. If You can take the big one and literally fill it with all my dirty stuff, and any chargers or cords you find, that’d be lovely.”

We talked some more practical things about the apartment. I was allowed out on the courtyard to have a cigarette with her, and then we extricated the big nag and she left with it, promising to return that night, as I was slated to go to the unknown detention facility the next night.

I was allowed to roam my small portion of the courtyard for a half hour after that, but then sleepiness overtook me, and I returned to my cell to sleep yet again.

I woke up many hours later and was taken to the chief’s office, and then- miracle of miracles! Rachel walked in with a heaving suitcase, followed by Cari, and (more confusingly cause we’re not that close but I was still glad to see her) Heather! We all got to embrace and talk quickly, but time was limited, and they were quickly ushered out. “I thought I was never gonna see you guys again!” I called after them. “Thank you!”

And then I was taken to my cell.

In the morning I went to the detainment facility.

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

One Response to Continuing Adventures in Turkish Detainment

  1. Alan says:

    . . reads like a round up for Auschwitz or Sobibor!

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