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A KAZAKH IN ISTANBUL. ASEL BAYKANOVA ON MOVING TO TURKEY AND STARTING A BAG MAKING STUDIO

13.05.2018

A KAZAKH IN ISTANBUL. ASEL BAYKANOVA ON MOVING TO TURKEY AND STARTING A BAG MAKING STUDIO

Asel Baikanova, 33, from Kostanay, TV translator, designer, owns a leather bag making studio with Aseka art painting



From Astana to Istanbul


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I’ve been living in Istanbul for four years. Firstly I moved from Astana to Antalya to learn Turkish. I hadn’t had a plan to stay, the decision came on the spot.

I spent a day in Istanbul on my way to Antalya and fell in love with it


I was determined to return there. I learnt Turkish in Antalya and returned to Istanbul. Istanbul is so big, full of energy, alive, warm and sunny.


On the difficulties


As for me, initially I had to deal with some visa issues. It would have been much easier if I’d taken care of it in advance. You need to find people making a residence permit no to face problems. I called the visa center, they told me to leave the country so that I could have an invitation and prepare documents. I returned to Kazakhstan and the Embassy of Turkey in Kazakhstan helped me fix the things right within two weeks. Finally, all the problems were overcome.

I didn’t have any language problems as I speak 4. But the thing is that I’m a perfectionist afraid to make a mistake even though understanding Turkish speech. Kazakhs can easily adapt and understand Turkish since 40% of all the Turkish vocabulary is similar to Kazakh.


On life in Istanbul


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There’re 20 million people living in Istanbul. I like communicating with people and the energy Istanbul has.

Turkey's mentality is similar to Kazakh. Four years ago it was an absolutely European and safe country. People are kind and sympathetic, I’ve never seen such a hospitality. Tourists are always treated well. People smile and talk with you.

It’s sunny which is amazing as my mood depends on the sun. Residents of Istanbul are simple, you don’t need 15 cm heels, tight dress, make-up and manicure to impress them. People here are respected for the actions they do no matter what look they have. You can start talking with anyone, it’s impressive.

I really love Istanbul. I’ve got many friends here, they’re New Zealanders, Turks, Kurds, Kazakhs, Russians, Ukrainians.

Kazakhstanis coming to Istanbul often write to me. I’m always pleased to meet nice people and show them the city.


On work


I studied the language for three months and then sought work for another three months. I’d worked in large companies in Kazakhstan, but here I thought that it's worth changing. I was invited to work as a translator. I had a contract with a Turkish company buying serials around the world. I translated almost all the documentary and serials of Rossiya TV channel. I’ve been translating TV serials of NTV TV Channel since last year.

At first, I was surprised by Turkish’s handcraft skills which I really like. It inspired me to enroll at bag making courses. I had good teachers and at the moment I own a leather bags making studio. I co-work with Kazakh artists who help me decorate the bags. We send the products to Kazakhstan and two shops in Turkey.

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This year I was invited to participate in the international exhibition of artists in Istanbul. I’ll be the only one exhibiting painted bags. I’ll represent Kazakhstan. We’ve made a collection of six bags with famous Kazakh paintings reproductions on them. A couple of works got popular in Instagram, so I'm thinking of making bags with national color.

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On purchases


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The most expensive purchase in Istanbul was an old gramophone of the late 19th century. There’re many antique shops arranging auctions where unusual things can be bought for almost nothing. I bought the gramophone for 20 000 tenge only.

In fact, I spend money on my business mostly. Tools are quite expensive, but I was able to get everything I needed as my friends and relatives helped me a lot. Now my hobby inspires me and brings income.


On what the city has taught


Istanbul changed my attitude to life


I couldn’t enjoy my life and used to have a feeling that everything needed to be done urgently, quickly. Now I’m different. Istanbul has changed my mind. I realized that sometimes I need to stop, order coffee or tea and do nothing - just contemplate or communicate.

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I became more open and can communicate with anyone I want. Now food and people are two things that I love as it's so nice to talk with people at the dinner table. I love sociable people.

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