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Troubles in Turkish Paradise
A Tourist's First Aid Kit

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How to express 'urgent' needs, legitimate concerns,
and complaints in Turkish
(plus a selection of general purpose
whines, moans, bitches, and howls...)
For the times when things don't go quite the way you planned...

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Phrases for health-related situations
Phrases for non-threatening situations
Phrases for threatening situations
Writing letters of complaint -- general
Tour Operator, letter of complaint (English)
Tour Operator, letter of complaint (Turkish)
Bungling building contractor -- letter of complaint (English)
Bungling building contractor -- letter of complaint (Turkish)

Is this page really necessary?

What's this?
A foreign visitor in need of first-aid in Turkey --
for either medical or non-medical reasons?!
In this fabled land of milk and honey?!
What could possibly go wrong?...

Why...there hasn't been a really scary medical alert in all the time we've spent here (more than 11 years now). And the 'heartland' of the country (both north and south of the Bosphorus) boasts the friendliest natural hospitality a foreigner can find anywhere in the world!

Still... we (grudgingly) admit the possibility.

You may have noticed that most 'bad' Turkish tourism reports come out of Istanbul. This arises because its population ['guestimated' recently at between 15 and 20 million over-crowded souls] suffers from typical 'big international city' problems, aggravated by the influx of a large number of multi-ethnic 'grifters' over the years.

But in fairness (from the point of view of crime-statistics at least) Istanbul is actually pretty tame -- compared with the other big cities of the world.

For example...in the 1994 Interpol Statistical Year, there were 251 murders committed in Istanbul -- including sensationally-reported 'terrorist' killings. In Chicago the number was 1027, in LA it was 1556, and New York it was 2202. In the same year there were 197,148 reported robberies in Tokyo; 152,968 in Rome; 11,747 in Istanbul. Also in the same year there were 963 reported rapes in Vienna, 856 in Tokyo, and 41 in Istanbul...

But all those favorable statistics don't soothe the hurt, if it's your trip that gets interrupted, disturbed, or ruined because of an unpleasant olay --
no matter where it might happen to you.

Olaylar even happen to us...
Every time we are just about to become
too Pollyanna-ish about Turkey,
we run into a
göt lalesi
who brings us back to earth with a thud --
about once a year, on average...

Gosh, Marvin. They're lucky.
Seems like I can't get through a single day...

If you'd stop wearing tank-tops and short-shorts to the Little League games...
Are you suggesting I throw away my entire summer wardrobe?

So what's a gal or guy to do if confronted, God forbid, with an medical emergency -- or by a situation that requires a stiff spine? Must you simply roll over and die? Or, are you at the mercy of the serseri minority?

Why of course not!

At least you won't be --
after you commit this entire page to memory !!!

weellll, a couple of phrases, then...

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Phrases for health-related situations...


Turkish Translation

Call a Doctor! Doktor çagIrIn!
dohk-tohr chah-rihn
Call an Ambulance! Ambulans çagIrIn!
ahm-boo-lahns chah-rihn
Can the doctor come here? Doktor buraya gelebilir mi?
dohk-tohr boo-rah-yah geh-leh-bee-leer mee??
It's an emergency! Acil vaka var!
ah-jeel vah-kah- vahr
Is there a hospital around here? Buralarda bir hastane var mI?
boo-rah-lahr-dah beer hahs-tah-neh vahr mih?
Is there a doctor around here? Buralarda bir doktor var mI?
boo-rah-lahr-dah beer dohk-tohr vahr mih?
Is there a drug store/pharmacy/chemist around here? Buralarda bir eczane var mI?
boo-rah-lahr-dah beer ehj-zah-neh vahr mih?
Is there a dentist around here? Buralarda bir dis hekimi var mI?
boo-rah-lahr-dah beer deesh heh-kee-mee vahr mih?
I'm sick. Ben hastayIm.
behn hahs-tah-yihm
My friend is sick. ArkadasIm hasta.
ahr-kah-dah-shihm hahs-tah
I'm dizzy. BasIm dönüyor?
bah-shihm der-noo-yohr
I'm going to throw-up/vomit. KusacagIm geliyor.
koo-sah-jahm geh-lee-yohr
I'm on medication for (ailment name)... (Ailment name) için ilaç alIyorum.
(ailment name) ee-cheen ee-lahch ah-lih-yoh-room
Ailments: anemia/anaemia (kansIzlIk), constipation (kabIzlIk), cystitis (sistit), diabetes (seker hastasI), diarrhea/diarrheoa (ishal), gastroenteritis (gastrit), headache (bas agrIsI), heart condition (kalp hastalIk), high blood pressure (tansiyon), indigestion (mide fesadI)
I need an English speaking doctor. ingilzce konusan doktora ihtiyacIm var.
een-ghee-leez-jeh koh-noo-shah dohk-toh-rah eeh-tee-yah-jihm vahrn
I've got ('ailment name'). ('Ailment name') var.
('ailment name') vahr
Ailments (with proper first person singular suffix): anemia/anaemia (kansIzlIgIm), constipation (kabIzlIgIm), cramps (krampIm), cystitis (sistitim), diabetes (seker hastalIgIm), diarrhea/diarrheoa (ishalim), fever (atesim), gastroenteritis (gastritim), headache (bas agrIm), heart condition (kalp hastalIgIm), high blood pressure (tansiyonum), indigestion (mide fesadIm)
I've got/caught a cold. Nezle oldum.
nehz-leh ohl-doom
The doctor may ask...


English Translation

NasIl hissediyorsunuz?
nah-sihl hees-seh-dee-yohr-soo-nooz?
How do you feel?  
Neyin var.
neh-yeen vahr?
What's the matter/what's wrong (with your health).  
AgrI hissediyor musunuz?
ah-rih hees-seh-dee-yohr moo-soo-noos?
Are you feeling any pain(s).  
Neresi agrIyor?
neh-reh-see ah-rih-yohr?
Where does it hurt.  
ilaç alIyor musunuz?
ee-lahch ah-lih-yohr moo-soo-nooz
Are you taking any medication?  
Uyusturucu kullanIyor musunuz??
oo-yoosh-too-roo-joo kool-lah-nih-yohr-soo-nooz??
Do you use narcotics?  
içki içiyor musunuz?
eech-kee ee-chee-yohr moo-soo-nooz??
Do you drink alcoholic beverages?  
Sigara içiyor musunuz?
see-gah-rah ee-chee-yohr moo-soo-nooz??
Do you smoke cigarettes?  

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Phrases for distressing but non-threatening situations


English Translation

Aküm bitti. KIsa devre kablosu ile çalIstIrIn mIsInIz?.
ah-kyoom beet-tee. kih-sah deh-vreh kah-bloh-sooo eee-leh chah-lihsh-tih-rihn mih-sih-nihz.
My car battery has died. Would you give me a jump start [with your cables]? 
Seni begenmiyorum.
seh-nee beh-ehn-mee-yoh-room
I don't like you. 
Seninle dans etmiyorum.
seh-neen-ley dahns eht-mee-yoh-room
I don't want to dance with you you. 
I'm sorry, I didn't understand. What did you say?
(Click the following to read A true 'Efendim' story or to have a full explanation of the various uses of 'Efendim.')
Bes para etmez.
besh para eht-mehz
It is utterly worthless.  
No way!  
Çok küçük/gürültülü/pahalI.
choke koo-chhok/goo-roo-too-loo/pah-hah-lih
It's too small/noisy/expensive.  
Çok yorgunum.
choke yohr-guun-uum
I'm very tired.  
Ben yabancIyIm.
behn yah-bahn-jih-ihm
I'm a foreigner.  
  1. ismim Kildare Mulrooney.
    ees-meem Kildare Mulrooney
    (..or..Benim ismim Kildare Mulrooney.)
    beh-neem ees-meem Kildare Mulrooney
  2. Otel istanbul'da kalIyorum.
    oh-tehl ees-tahn-buul'dah kah-lih-yoh-ruum
  3. Lütfen, beni otelim'e götürün.
    luut-fehn beh-nee oh-teh-lee-meh grr-too-roon
  1. My name is Kildare Mulrooney.

  2. I'm staying at the Istanbul Hotel.

  3. Please take me back to my hotel.
Genellikle, salatalar, sebzeler, falan yiyebilirim.
ghe-nehl-leek-leh sah-laht-lahr, sehb-zeh-lehr, fah-lahn yee-yeh-bee-lee-reem
Fakat ekmek gibi seyler yemeyebilirim.
fah-kaht ehk-mehk ghee-bee shey-lehr yeh-meh-yeh-bee-lee-reem
Usually, I can eat salads, vegetables (and various sorts of vegetables).

But I can't eat things like bread.

Dikkat! Bu ilaçlarI röntgen bozar.
dee-kaht...boo ee-lahch-lah-rih rern-t-ghehn boh-zahr
Careful! X-rays will ruin these medicines. A sign to place on a package...
Soförlü bir araba beni karsIlayacak, sanIyordum.
shoh-fer-luuu beer ah-rah-bah beh-nee kahr-shih-lah-yah-jahk sah-nih-yohr-duum
Soförlü bir arabanIn beni karsIlayacagInI sanIyordum.
shoh-fer-luuu beer ah-rah-bah-neen beh-nee kahr-shih-lah-yah-jahh-ih-hih sah-nih-yohr-duum
I expected a car with a driver to come meet me.  
Kaybolursa, 6 Agustos'tan önce asagIdaki adrese teslim edin.
kahy-bohl-uur-sah ahl-tih ahh-uus-tohs ern-jay ah-sha-ih-dah-kee ah-dreh-seh tehs-leem eh-deen
If lost, deliver to the address below before 6 August... A sign to put on the outside of your luggage...

Phrases for threatening situations
(The nasty .1 %...)


English Translation

Seni gücendirmek istemem, ama...
seh-nee goo-jehn-deer-mehk ees-teh-mehm, ah-mah
I don't want to offend you, but...  
Üzgünüm, benim ülkemde adet degil.
ooz-goo-noom beh-neem ool-kehm-deh ah-deht dehh-eel
I'm sorry, that's not customary in my country.  
Lütfen rahatsIz etmeyin.
luut-fehn rah-haht-sihz eht-meh-yeen
Please don't disturb me.  
Bana dokunma...
bah-nah doh-koon-mah
Don't touch me...  
No way!  
Toz ol!
tohz ohl
Get lost. Literal meaning is, 'Become dust!'
I'm angry.  
Ben yabancIyIm.
behn yah-bahn-jih-ihm
I'm a foreigner.  
Ne yapIyorsun?
neh yah-pih-yohr-suun?
What are you doing?  
Beni rahat bIrakIn.
beh-nee rah-haht bih-rah-kihn
Leave me alone.  
Buradan gidin!
boo-rah-dahn ghee-dihn!
Get out of here!  
Siktir git!
seek-teer geet!
F**k off! This is boldly (and obviously) 'off-color'.
Polisi çagIrIrIm/ararIm!
poh-lee-see chahh-ah-rihm/ah-rah-rihm!
I'll call the Police!  
Polis çagIrIn!
poh-lees chah-rihn
[You there!] Call the police!  
Defol git!Ed. 5.0
deh-fohl geet!
Get out of here!  

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Sample Letters of Complaint

The events described in these letters are true -- only some names have been changed... So in the case of the dodgy tour operator, beware of the Tursem (its real name) tour operator in Izmir -- unless you like your customer service really 'cheap and nasty'...And in the case of the bungling builder, be sure to pray fulsomely to the 'God who Wards-off Dingbats' -- before buying property in Turkey...

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we're all ears.
Just click the 'Comments' icon a little further below and leave us a message...

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