Moldova, Turkey: Natalya Morar's Istanbul Airport Adventure

Global Voices Online
Thursday, May 22, 2008

Last December, journalist Natalia Morar was barred from entering Russia and deported to her native Moldova after a Russian weekly magazine published a series of her stories about alleged siphoning of huge sums of money out of Russia by the country's high-ranking officials (a GV translation on Morar's ordeal is here).

Earlier this month, Morar (LJ user natmorar) had a bizarre experience at Istanbul International Atatürk Airport, which she has described (RUS) on her blog:

"You are barred from entering the country, you'll be deported back to Moldova now," a Turkish border control officer at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul explained to me in broken English, passing my documents to a promptly summoned policeman. I was beginning to believe that this was my fate: airports, deportations.

They took me to a police station, held me there for about 40 minutes. Turned out they had a 24-year-old Natalia Morar in their database, a prostitute who had been previously deported to Moldova. It took me a long time to explain that I'm not her and that she's not me. My press card and all other documents just made them even more distrustful. They must've been thinking: "What a smart prostitute, got herself shielded with documents."

It all ended well when the cops decided to compare our ID numbers. They let me out [...], asking by way of good-bye: "Turkish boyfriend, yes?" [...]

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