A letter from Gokce Suvari

To Whom It May Concern:

Hereby, I would like to make a comment on Austrian Visa policy in Turkey and the conditions in the Austrian Embassy in Ankara. I’m an artist working for an independent and artist run, civil organization. Due to my career as an artist, I received an invitation from an organization in Vienna in order to participate in an international exhibition. I gladly accepted this invitation and started the procedures, which are necessary to obtain an Austrian Visa. I also would like to state that I already have been to EU countries such as Germany, France and Spain in order to participate in international exhibitions. I phoned the call center for the Austrian embassy and got an appointment from the embassy in Ankara for the application. The call center, which requires a fee of 9 Euros, also informed me about the necessary documents, like my invitation letter and my identification papers. My appointment was at 8.30 am but I was able to enter the embassy only after 10.45 am. In that duration a lot of people, including elderly ones, were forced to wait on a big queue under the sun. I also should point out that the waiting conditions were harsh. After I was able to give my papers and application form, the officials told me that I would receive an answer after 5 days. When I got back to the embassy again, to my surprise, I learned that my application was rejected because of insufficient documents, but some of the papers, like my invitation letter, were already in my application documentation. This situation gave me the impression that the documentation wasn’t checked properly. Other documentation, which hadn’t been mentioned by the call center, was documentation of my bank accounts. Due to my profession I have applied for and got a Schengen visa from Germany and France, but I was never asked to show my bank accounts. And also it was already stated on my invitation letter that my travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the organization which invited me. Although I found it inappropriate, I agreed to show my bank accounts to the embassy authorities, since I was interested in this specific art event. As a result after 9 days, my application was rejected again, because I was suspected of being a potential illegal worker. So my participation in this international art event was prevented. This experience gave me two impressions. The embassy policy is to treat every visa applicant as a potential illegal labor force for the country and reject as many as possible, including doctors, engineers, and artists. I saw that international support for the arts and culture is not an important issue for the Austrian Foreign Ministry, or the authorities of the Austrian Embassy in Ankara do not respect artists, but consider them as unemployed people. I strongly protest this kind of intolerable attitude and find it anti-humanistic, xenophobic, and antidemocratic. To conclude I do believe that the Austrian Visa policy in Turkey should be revised and improved immediately.

Gokce Suvari
2007

Neden Viyana’ya gitmiyorum.

Yarin sabah Viyana’ya sergi icin gitmem gerekiyor. Serginin açılış tarihi çok yakın, 19 Mayıs ve zaten en başından beri işimin de çıkış noktasını oluşturan bu serginin kendisine yönelik bir eleştiri niteliğinde düşündüğüm bir fotograf enstelasyonunu duvara asmak, açılışta bulunmak amacıyla gidecektim, ilk kez Avusturyaya.

Turist, göçmen ve yabancı sözcüklerinin sözlük anlamları ve imajlardan oluşan bu iş için, uzun süredir de bu konuya saplanmış durumdaydım.

Sergi, bound by adıyla, Basement isimli, bir sanatcı tarafından yürütülen bir mekan. Gökçe’de benimle birlikte bu sergide yer alacaktı.

İki gün once Gökçe nin e-maili geldi. Vize için çok uğraştırdıklarından yakınıyordu ve vize alamama durumundan bahsediyordu. Herneyse dun de kotu haberi verdi. Döküman yetersizliğinden dolayı, düzeltiyorum Avusturyaya gidip hiç geri dönmemesi ihtimali nedeniyle vize başvurusu reddedildi.

Benim durumum şöyle, babamın 1. Derece devlet memurluğu ( öğretmenlik) görevinden dolayı evlenmemiş, yardıma muhtaç kız çocuğu vasfımla ben yeşil/Hususi Pasaport sahibiyim. Bu aynı zamanda herhangi bir işte sigortalı olarak çalışmadığım anlamına geliyor ve yeşil pasaport benim ingiltere harici avrupa birliği ülkelerine vizesiz gidebilmemi saglıyor. Bu kolaylık benim için çöpten yemek toplayan bir ailenin o aksam yemeği olarak istakoz yemesi gibi birşey.

Hiçbirşeyim yok, ama yeşil pasaportum var.

Gökçenin mailinden sonra benim de canım sıkıldı. Bu tür durumların empatisizliğinden ve herşeyden once, onu bu can sıkıcı durumda bırakmak istemedim.

Duzeltiyorum, kendim icin, daha iyi hissetmek adina.

Böylece ben Viyana yerine istanbul’a dönüyorum birkac gune.

Arkadaslara duyrulur.

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