I was in the Netherlands for a few days. One of the reasons: I needed a special sticker in my passport, which could only be obtained from the Turkish consolate in Rotterdam. Well, no point in fighting bureaucracy, so I took a plane and went. In my bag a pile of letters from media I work for and a letter from the Dutch embassy in Ankara, all stating that I work as a freelance journalist in Turkey and make money with it. The letters convinced the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam that I have my own journalism business here, and glued the press visa in my passport. Now I can finally get my official press card, which will also lead to a living permit. I’ve been busy with this for a few months and as a freelancer the general rules never seem to fit your situation. So I was really relieved that this step was finally taken. But this afternoon, arriving at Atatürk Airport, simple relieve made way for happiness. Usually, the men and women at the passport control stamp your tourist visa and return your passport without a word. This time, the guy apparently understood that I would be staying here for some time, stamped the press visa, gave me a big smile and said in English: Welcome to Turkey! I gave a big fat smile back, and replied in Turkish: “Tesekkürler, hoş bulduk.” Meaning: “Thank you. It’s good to be here.”

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