Category Archives: Africa

Turkish residence permit tea

Getting Foreign Resident Permits in Morocco and Turkey

Traveling around the world in the slowest possible way means that I generally stay longer in a country than a tourist visa allows.

What that means is that I either have to be illegal or get a foreign resident permit. The difference in requirements and bureaucracy can be staggering. I won’t go into what it takes to stay in countries like the USA if you are a non-citizen, but the two countries I’ve most recently called home offer a startling contrast to one another.

Morocco Foreign Resident Permit

Getting my foreign resident permit in Morocco (called a carte de sejour) was a monstrous undertaking. I had to provide the following documents:
-ten passport photos
-six copies of my passport
-proof of residence, i.e. a rental contract
-five copies of my birth certificate
-five copies of my proof of employment (work contract)
-a letter from my employer stating that I was in fact working (attestation de travail)
-a police report from my last country of residence
- a 100 dirham stamp
All of the documents had to be certified as original and stamped at the local city hall. The process took six months during which I had to check in at the local police station every month. Total cost was only about 50 Euro. By the time I got it, the permit was only valid for six months of the one year I had applied for.

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Turkey Foreign Resident Permit
The process in Turkey was far easier but also much more expensive.

- I had to have a Turkish bank account with 500 lira for each month I planned to stay in Turkey (12 months = 6000 Lira). In order to get the bank account, I had to get a Turkish Tax Identification Card which cost about 700 Euro. I was also asked to prove who my parents were since Turkish ID generally states your parent’s names on it. To get the bank account, I needed just my passport and the tax ID card.

- I needed to have a sponsor who vouched to be responsible for me while I was in Turkey. In this case, me and the 24 year old Turkish man who vouched for me laughed about the fact that a 24 year old man was responsible for a 38 year old man. We had to get a notarized statement.
- I needed to be able to provide an address of residence and phone number to be reached at.
- 5 passport photos
- 2 copies of my birth certificate
- An application for residency
- 900 Lira for the residence card

And finally a trip to the regional police headquarters where there were several visits to different offices for stamps and interviews, during one of which I was served tea and baklava! Turkey is one of the most civilized nations on the planet, this proved it. Two weeks later, they called and I went and picked up my residence permit.

The permit is good until November of next year.

So to summarize: Morocco is cheap but slow and involves numerous bureaucratic hurdles while Turkey is much more expensive but runs efficiently and with a minimum of bureaucracy- not to mention the tea and baklava from the Leftenant!

bloody river of Eid Sacrifice

Bayram in Turkey vs. Eid in Morocco

Travel holidays. There is no bigger holiday in the Muslim world than Ramadan. The variations in Islam between countries that are all lumped together as ‘Muslim’ can be huge. In fact, there are things that tie all Muslims together (very broad things), but by no means is a Turkish ‘Muslim’ anything like a Moroccan ‘Muslim’.

bloody river of Eid Sacrifice And I use the quote marks because I’m not talking about the really devout. I’m talking about the average person you meet who is Muslim because they were born Muslim but really doesn’t take the time to think about it – or care about it.

One example of this is the holiday that I’m currently enjoying. Just like in Morocco, Turkey closes schools and government offices for the week so that students and workers can go home to be with family during the ‘feast of the sacrifice’. To see my post about Eid last year where the river ran red with the blood of sacrificial sheep you can go to the links below.
Bayram in Turkey

This year, I didn’t see much in the way of celebration. The University students all left Manisa to go back to the family homes. I saw a couple of sheep here and there, but there was certainly no blood in the streets. Instead, what you see in Turkey is young kids going from door to door asking for sweets or money.

No fires in the yard, no bleating of sheep, no bloody rivers.

Admittedly, this isn’t Eastern Turkey, but still. We were surprised to see the complete and utter nothingness which we witnessed. I’m sure there were plenty of sheep sacrificed here, but the cost of 800 Lira vs. 800 dirhams in Morocco is pretty sharp since the first translates to about 400 Euros and the second to about 80 Euros. That certainly makes a difference.

Seafood in Canakkale

Canakkale, Turkey – Part 2 – Worth a Visit

Canakkale is bustling, even in the off season. I would actually hate to see it during the peak tourist times, although most backpackers would probably enjoy it.

My introduction to this was at – Just in case you missed it.

I tend to shy away from tourist places in the high season because I don’t like crowds, pyramid in TurkeyI like the locals, and I tend to think that tourist towns are like magnets for all the worst types of people this ugly world produces from drug addicts to terrorists to plain old assholes. But during the off season, I do like to see the pretty places- and most touristy spots are pretty. Canakkale is no exception.

Canakkale Trojan HorseFrom the promenade with it’s nighttime lights, cheap stuffed mussels, and big, fake, Hollywood Trojan Horse to the pretty little cobble
stoned backstreets. It’s a nice town.

We found a great little place to get fresh fish grilled and delicious in the back streets.Seafood in Canakkale I don’t suppose I’ll be going back anytime soon so I’ll share the secret with you. On the road between the dolmus station and the ferry road, there is a tiny little place run by a very nice family. Clean, fresh, and delicious. It’s called Okyanus Balick Calick. Normally, I don’t eat anywhere with anus in the name, but in this case, it was delicious.

There are a number of little monuments in the town. cannon in canakkaleSome old cannons from the Dardanelles battles and a strange ceramic something that is just sort of strange. Of course, as everywhere in Turkey there are no shortage of monuments to Attaturk and the heroes of the Turkish Republic. An Ottoman clock tower somehow seems out of place.

In stark contrast to Manisa, there are a lot of places to quaff a beer in Canakkale. Lucky for me there are plenty of places for shopping too, so I was able to sit in a small cafe/bar for an afternoon listening to jazz and having adult beverages while Hanane shopped. Bliss. I’m very much a Turkish sort of Muslim, my wife on the other hand, well, she doesn’t approve. The difference between Moroccan and Turkish again.

Another difference is the Hammam. After nearly four months here, I finally made a trip to Turkish Hammam while in Canakkale. I went for the full massage at Yali Hammam. As compared with the Hammam in Morocco ( see this post: ) I was surprised to find that it was….empty.

The advent of modern bathrooms and hot water in nearly every house has made Hammam a thing of the past in Turkey whereas in Morocco it is still a necessity. I miss going to the Hammam in the Casbah of Sefrou, the social nature of seeing the same guys in the morning, then seeing them through the day. It was nice.
Hammam in Canakkale
Don’t get me wrong, the Turkish Hammam was fancy with marble basins and a heated center platform for massage plus a closed sauna room inside the main hammam. There were private locker rooms to leave your things in and you could lock the rooms. The massage was good, done by a big serious bald fat man.

The expense, well 35 lira in total (just 10 lira for the hammam alone). Pretty cheap when you consider a full bath, massage, and steam room for 17.5 Euros but when you compare it with 3.5 Euros (35 MAD but just 10 dirhams for the hammam alone) in the casbah, well, it starts to seem expensive. In fact though, both are a bargain. If I were to choose though, I preferred the one in the casbah.

Of course there is plenty more to see and do in Canakkale. A military museum, a castle, fishermen, the strange pyramid, the Nusrat Minelayer, the Korfmann Library and more, but I’ll leave those treasures for you to discover.

Oh, one last suggestion though…make sure to try the peynir helvas. It’s sweet, baked, and delicious with strong tea or Turkish coffee.

Coming soon: Gokceada Island: The Organic Turkish Island
Troy: City of Legends
Gallipolli and the Gellibollu Peninsula
Eceabat, Turkey
and much more…