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Press Release

ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN NATIONAL NEWSPAPER HURRIYET by Gülþah Güyük

Sokak Kedileri Kýsýrlaþtýrýlýyor (Street Cat Sterilization Campaign)
Marmaris'te 15 yýldýr yaþayan Ýskoç vatandaþý Jeannie Thirkill sokak kedilerini kýsýrlaþtýrma çalýþmalarýna, Turunç Belediye Baþkaný Ali Fuat Fidan destek verdi. Marmaris Belediyesi Veterineri Bora Deveci 10 sokak kedisini kýsýrlaþtýrdý. Orhaniye Köyü'nde kurduðu çiftlikle sokak hayvanlarýnýn barýnmalarýný saðlayan Thirkill, "Orhaniye'deki barýnak için Avrupa ülkelerinden yardýmlar alýyoruz. Marmaris Belediyesi kýsýrlaþtýrma programlarýný düzenlediler. Kýsýrlaþtýrma çalýþmalarý sokak hayvanlarýnýn sayýlarýnýn azalmasý, þehir ortamýnda daha kolay yiyecek bulmalarýný ve yaþamlarýný sürdürmelerine yardýmcý oluyor. Bir yýlda 500'e yakýn sokak hayvanýný kýsýrlaþtýrýldý" dedi.

and here is the summary of the above article in English : The mayor of Turunc Ali Fuat Fidan has given Jeannie Thirkill his support for the sterilization of street cats in Turunc. On this rainy day the municipality vet from Marmaris Bora Deveci was only able to operate 10 cats, but during the past year 500 cats have been operated. Marmaris Mayor also gives his support along with his vetinery help is slowly being found in Europe. The campaign is to help street cats receive a better quality of life: food and health control.

Jeannie's WON the IFAW animal action week award:
We have super news to share with all of you : Jeannie WON the IFAW animal action week award! Jeannie would like to thank you all for your support and letters of nomination!!! Even if she did not win the award, your letters have been a source of encouragement for her to continue her work for at least another 10 years here in Turkey! Allison Cantwell would also like to thank everyone who sent their letters of nomination for Jeannie. Jeannie just had her operation on May 05 on her back. Everything went well and she hopes to be back in the cat shelter next week. Today she received a phone call from England telling her that she WON the IFAW award!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jeannie will participate in the award ceremony at the House of Lords in London in September and will have a 2-page spread in the 'People' Newspaper in England.

INTERVIEW WITH THE TURKISH LARGEST CAT WEBSITE KEDIGEN.COM
How and when did this start?
What gave you the idea building a cat shelter?
It wasn't planned. I think the cats planned it, and chose me to do the hard work. I had no idea of founding a Cat Shelter as I had dogs all my life. I even brought my dog to Turkey. 10 years ago during the night I found a stranded kitten, a tiny black and white thing in the neighbors garden. He was only 4 days old. I had no idea if he would live or die because I had no idea what to do. My experience was only with dogs. So I called him Hayat, which means "life" in Turkish. I thought if he had a lucky name, it would bring him luck also and give him a chance in "life". the next day my land lady brought me the sister... in six hours I had two cats.
The real founder of our cat shelter is Hayat, who is now a 10 year old bossy, anti-social, independent, single minded but handsome moggy. Within 24 hours I was presented with his sister Princess who only lived 4 years. So with the plastic bag filled with milk I started feeding them. They survived and grew into happy healthy cats. During the winter, when money was scarce, the cheapest form of food was fish. But being a "cat person" now and the fish being so cheap, I used to buy an extra kilo and feed the street cats on my way home. This put me into contact with the street situation concerning the cats. At this time I started to realize the problems of the animals on the streets... within 4 weeks I had another cat a kitten with cronic cat flu. I didn't think he'd survive but with advice from the state vetinery for antibiotics and such like we succeeded.
Within the year I had 18 cats, within two years I had 25 cats. Then my housing problems started. No one wanted to rent me a house. By the third year I had 45 cats and I was homeless. I was lucky I had an unused tent from England. For the next six months I lived in that tent at the cat place. In a way, it was the best place we lived: the cats were happier than me because they were free instead of being shut away in a house, hidden from neighbors and angry landlords. Living in a tent with my cats. No one would give me a house to rent. I put my tent on the land belonging to the famous Mustafa Deliveli where he kept feeding place for street cats who been left at their Lidya Hotel in Marmaris.
It was Mustafa Deliveli who built my first Cat Shelter for his cats (100) + mine (45).

Bir kedi evi kurma fikri nasýl oluþtu?
Planlanmýþ birþey deðildi. Bu iþi kedilerin planladýðýný ve tüm iþi yaptýrmak için beni seçtiklerini düþünüyorum. Hayatýmda hep köpekler olduðu için hiç bir kedi barýnaðý açma fikrim yoktu. Hatta Türkiye’ye gelirken köpeðimi de getirmiþtim. 10 yýl önce komþumun bahçesinde birkaç günlük siyah beyaz yavru bir kedi buldum.. Daha önce kedi beslemediðimden ne yapacaðýmý bilemedim. Ona þans getirmesi ve hayatta kalabilmesi için adýný Hayat koydum. Ertesi gün ev sahibim kedinin kardeþini de bana getirdi. 6 saat içinde 2 kedim olmuþtu.

Kedi barýnaðýnýn kurucusu aslýnda Hayat’týr. Þimdi 10 yaþýnda, fazla sosyal olmayan, baðýmsýz, inatçý fakat yakýþýklý bir patron. Kardeþi Prenses sadece 4 yýl yaþadý. Onlarý ilk geldiklerinde süt dolu minik plastik torbalarla besliyordum. Yaþadýlar ve birer saðlýklý kedi oldular. Kýþýn para azalýnca onlara ucuz olduðu için balýk alýyordum. Bir kedi-insan olarak, balýk bu kadar ucuzken, kendi kedilerime alýrken fazladan 1 kilo daha alýp yolumun üstündeki sokak kedilerini de besliyordum. O zaman sokaktaki hayvanlarýn sorunlarýnýn farkýna varmaya baþladým. 4 hafta içinde kronik nezle olan baþka bir kedim daha oldu. Yaþayacaðýný hiç düþünmüyordum ama veterinerden antibiyotik tavsiyesi ile onu yaþatmayý baþardýk.

O yýl içinde 18, 2 yýl içinde 25 kedim oldu. Bundan sonra ev sorunum baþladý. Kimse evini bana kiraya vermek istemiyordu. 3.yýl 45 kedimle birlikte evsiz kaldým. Bir süre Ýngiltere’den getirdiðim kullanýlmamýþ çadýrda kedilerimle birlikte yaþadým. O 6 ay boyunca çok mutluyduk. Kediler, evde hapis olacaklarýna doðada özgürdüler, etrafta kýzgýn komþu yoktu. Çadýrý daha sonra Mustafa Deliveli’nin, sahibi olduðu Lidya Otel’in artýklarýyla sokak kedilerini beslediði arazisine taþýdým. Ýlk kedi barýnaðýmý da kuran Mustafa Delivelidir. Kendi 100 kedisi ve benim 45 kedim için…

how many cats are there in the shelter?
We usually have around 250 cats at the shelter of course some escape, some die and some find good homes in Germany and Holland (through the internet and cooperation of two animal societies in Germany and some cat breeders in Holland.

We have a feeding / neutering program in Marmaris and Icmeler. To date our vetinerys and cat friend group have operated and released 3500 cats. A German team come twice a year and out two Turkish vets Kemal Altin (pativet) and Behcet Duzgun / Sukru Ulupinar work all year round with problems...
We always have problems from the people who don't like cats and want them "to disappear" Our job is to teach these people to ignore the cats, to understand the need of cats for ratting + micing (rats + mice) ad that the answer to the number of cats on the streets is neutering and not poisoning.

Kedi barýnaðýnda kaç kedi bulunuyor?
Barýnakta genellikle 250 civarýnda kedi var. Tabi, kaçanlar, ölenler veya internet aracýlýðýyla ya da Almanya’daki bir hayvan derneði aracýlýðýyla Almanya ve Hollanda’da ev bulup oraya gönderilenler oluyor.

Marmaris ve Ýçmelerde besleme ve kýsýrlaþtýrma programýmýz var. kedi dostu bir grup ile 3500 kediyi kýsýrlaþtýrdýk. Yýlda iki kez Almanya’dan gelen veteriner hekimler ve Pativet’ten Kemal Altýn ile Behçet Düzgün ve Þükrü Ulupýnar tüm yýl içinde bizim sorunlarýmýzla uðraþýrlar.

Kedi sevmeyen ve onlarýn ortadan kaybolmasýný isteyen insanlarla devamlý sorun yaþýyoruz. Bizim iþimiz, bu insanlara kedilere aldýrmamalarýný, fare popülasyonunu engellemek için onlara ihtiyacýmýz olduðunu ve sokaktaki kedilerin sayýlarýný azaltmanýn yolunun onlarý zehirlemek deðil, kýsýrlaþtýrmak olduðunu öðretmek.

How did you meet with these German vets?
It was during this time that I heard about German veterinaries visiting Lidya hotel. This is the oldest hotel in Marmaris and known for its cats. For all the cats that were dumped in the gardens of the Lidya hotel. Living quite close to the place, I was curious so I looked and found most of the cats in need of veterinary care. They had the food but they didn't have the care. So unknown to the Lidya at this time, I started taking care of them and giving simple treatments to the cats that I could catch. Cleaning the place and giving love and attention to those cats. The vets apparently came every spring and autumn to hold a two-week castration campaign for street cats. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get my cats castrated all at the same time.

I arrived to Lidya hotel and was introduced to Karin Potter who was the organizer. She welcomed me and was more than happy to help with my cats. For me this was a fantastic opportunity to learn about cats first hand. In return for operating my cats, I offered my services for two weeks going around the streets cat catching. The veterinaries were wonderful; they never tired of my continual questions! During my second week, I spent most of my time in the operating room, watching, asking questions. And they showed me how to give injections and let me do all the post operative injections for over 250 cats. Karin keeps coming every year because of her love for Marmaris and the cats.

Bu Alman veterinerle nasýl tanýþtýnýz?
Lidya Otelinde kalan alman veterinerler olduðunu duymuþtum. Burasý Marmaris’in en eski otelidir ve kedileriyle ünlüdür. Genellikle misafirlerle birlikte oteli 30 kedi paylaþýr. Bakamayanlar kedileri otelin bahçesine býrakýrlardý. Buraya yakýn yaþadýðýmdan kedileri merak edip gidip gördüm. Yemekleri vardý ama bakýmlarý yapýlmýyordu. Yakalayabildiðim kedilere basit tedaviler uygulamaya ve onlarý temizlemeye çalýþtým. Veteriner hekimler her yýl ilkbahar ve sonbaharda gelip 2 haftalýk sokak kedilerini kýsýrlaþtýrma kampanyalarý yapýyorlardý. Bu baktýðým kedileri kýsýrlaþtýrmam için mükemmel bir fýrsattý. Lidya Otel’e gittim ve bu organizasyonu düzenleyen Karin Potter ile tanýþtým. Bana memnuniyetle yardýmcý oldu. Bu ayný zamanda benim için de kedileri daha yakýndan tanýmam için bir fýrsat oldu. Kedilerimi kýsýrlaþtýrdýklarý için 2 hafta boyunca sokaktan kedi yakalamalarýna yardýmcý oldum. Veteriner hekimler harikaydý, dur durak bilmeyen sorularýmý sabýrla cevapladýlar. Ikinci haftamda zamanýmýn büyük kýsmýný operasyon odasýnda geçirdim. Seyrederek ve sorular sorarak. Bana nasýl iðne yapýlacaðýný öðrettiler ve onlarýn gözetiminde 250 kediye iðne yaptým. Karin, Marmaris’I ve kedilerini çok sevdiði için her yýl buraya geliyor.

In which stages did you have difficulties? (From the native people or the authorities?)
No problems from the authorities at all!!!! They all leave me to do my job and even support me in times of trouble.
My biggest problems are unwanted cats and food. I receive calls nearly every day from around Turkey: Please help us! Please take our cats! They don't seem to think about how I am managing with Marmaris cats never mind Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir, etc. And these people expect me to do some thing without offering any kind of support. I am lucky though because some people I've chosen to help do support me and the cats they have given me. In Izmir I have Ayse, Melisa, Emine and Feza hanimlar do support me in small financial way. Ali and Arzu from Istanbul, Atilla from www.kedimveben.com

At last the Turkish people have slowly started to support me this makes me think of the positive rather than the negative. I mean I may have hundreds of people complaining but when I have a handul of people suddenly helping me and supporting me, I am no longer thinking about the complainers. It's how I have done my job so many years - Positive not negative!
The food situation is still a problem, but improving every month, another sponsor (1 bag 15 kg of dry food a month), another donation. One day I am sure I will have enough food for my cats without worrying "in three days the food will be finished or I have only 1 day left food what will I do tomorrow" There is only been one day in 9 years when I didn't have some kind of food for my cats.

Hangi aþamalarda ne gibi sorunlarla karþýlaþtýnýz?

Yetkililerle hiçbir sorunum olmadý. Iþimi yaparken bana hiç karýþmadýlar, hatta zor zamanlarýmda yardýmcý da oldular.
Benim en büyük problemim, istenmeyen kediler ve yemek. Hemen her gün Türkiye’nin çeþitli yerlerinden telefonlar alýyorum, yardým edin, kedilerimizi alýn diye. Marmaris’teki kedilerle nasýl baþettiðimi hiç düþünmüyorlar, býrakýn Ýstanbul, Ýzmir, Antalya’yý… ve bu insanlar hiçbir destek sunmadan benim birþey yapmamý bekliyorlar. Ben yine de þanslýyým, yardým için seçtiðim insanlar beni destekliyor. Ýzmir den Ayþe, Melisa, Emine ve Feza hanýmlar küçük küçük maddi katkýda bulunuyorlar. Ýstanbul’dan Ali ve Arzu ile www.Kedimveben.com ’deki Atilla da.

Sonunda türk insaný beni desteklemeye baþladý. Bu, beni negatif düþünmekten ziyade pozitif düþünmeme neden oldu (?) yüzlerce insan benim hakkýmda þikayet ediyor olabilir, ama bir avuç insan beni destekleyip bana yardým ediyorsa, þikayetleri düþünmem artýk. Birkaç yýldýr iþimi böyle yapýyorum. Negatif deðil, pozitif.

Yemek durumu hala bir sorun ama her ay daha iyiye gidiyor. Ayda 15 kg kuru mama gönderiyorlar. Eminim ki bir gün, kedilerim için yeterli mamam olacak ve 3 gün içnde mama bitecek diye endiþelenmeyeceðim.

How do you survive? (From donations?) what should people do to help/support? Could you get any support from Marmaris municipality?
I do survive from donations and from sponsorship from cats that have been left with me. I have 2 bank accounts for Turkish Lira –
BANK: Yapi Kredi
Name: Jean Louise Thirkill, Cats House
Bank No. 67
Bank Code No. 0227-9 Marmaris
Account No. 0185966-9

Akbank
Subesi no. AKBKTRIS
Account no. 0055763-7
Marmaris 615

I also try as often as possible to have a kermez selling cats nick nacks so the greatest help for me would be donations of money and food and things to sell for the kermez.

I am forming a cat society... Marmaris Deliveli Street Cats Socety - M.D.S.K. when this is officialized then I will really start pushing for help from the municipality. We will be official therefore in a situation to demand! And I am not shy. I have worked hard for nine years without asking for too much help. I believe in helping myself first and then asking for extra help.

Nasýl ayakta kalýyorsunuz? Size yardým etmek isteyenler ne yapabilir?
Bir kedi derneði oluþturuyorum. Marmaris Deliveli Sokak kedileri Derneði - M.D.S.K. bu resmileþince belediyeden gerçek anlamda yardým isteyeceðim. Talep edebilmemiz için resmi olmamýz gerekiyor. Ve ben utangaç bir insan deðilimdir. 9 yýldýr fazla yardým istemeden çalýþýyorum.

You had to move the shelter for several times. can you tell us why you had to move the shelter and what is the situation right now?
We've had to move firstly from Armutalan, where I was camping because the Lidya were building a new hotel on the land, therefore Mustafa bey built me a home shelter.
We were happily there for 2 and a half years. All donations were spent on food and designing the shelter for the comfort of the cats. Shelving, clumbing frames, roofing the perimiter so the cats had freedom to move around during the rainy months.
Unfortunatelly the shelter was partly built on neighbours land. A court injunction, distruction order, we lost everything!!! All the municipality could do was give us extra time to find an alternative.
The Lidya has already spent around 10 milyar they could not repeat this action. So for the first time I was alone with 250 cats.....

I found an orange garden and Turkish house to rent in Orhaniye, 24 km from Marmaris it was perfect for a short time say 1 year.

Mrs. Potter, my German sponsor used her society to raise money for fencing and wooden houses for the cats. Now she again has raised money and bought 6000 sq. meters of land 4 km from Marmaris. Unfortunatelly we have to get permission from the Orman Bakanligi, before we can touch this land (it's Zeytinlik, surrounded by Milli Park).

I've sent a project and dilekci to Ankara, if any of you can help / support my application I would be happy to send copies of our paperwork to you. This will be our last place. We will be official. No neighbours, no complaints, no more moving!!!

Kedi barýnaðýný birlaç kez taþýmak zorunda kaldýðýnýza dair haberler okumuþtum. Neden barýnaðý taþýmak zorunda kaldýnýz ve bugünkü durumunuz nedir?

Önce kamp yaptýðým Armutalan’dan taþýndýk. Çünkü, Lidya Otel yeni bir bina inþa ediyordu. Bu yüzden Mustafa Bey kedileri için bir ev-barýnak yaptý. Orada 2,5 yýl yaþadýk. Baðýþlardan elde ettiðimiz tüm gelir yemeðe ve kedilerin rahatý için barýnaðýn tasarýmýna harcandý. Raflar, çarçeveler, kedilerin yaðmurlu havalarda rahatça dolaþabilmesi için branda çatýlar, çitler gibi pek çok güzel uygulama yaptýk. Fakat hepsi bitirilemedi.

Ne yazýk ki barýnaðýn bir bölümü komþu araziye kurulmuþ. Mahkeme kararý ile herþeyi kaybettik. belediyenin yapabildiði tek þey, bir alternatif bulabilmemiz için ekstra zaman oldu. Lidya Otel’i zaten bu iþ 10 milyar civarýnda para harcamýþtý, sonuç olarak ilk kez 250 kediyle birlikte tek baþýma kaldým.

Marmaristen 24 km uzaklýkta Orhaniye’de bir portakal bahçesi olan bir ev kiraladým. Alman sponsorum Bayan Potter etrafý çitle çevirmek ve kedilere tahtadan evler yapabilmemiz için kendi derneði aracýlýðýyla para biriktirdi. Þimdi yine para birikti ve marmaristen 4 km uzakta 6 bim metrekarelik bir alrazi aldý. Ne yazýk ki , bu araziye orman bakanlýðýndan izin almadan dokunamýyoruz. Çünkü burasý Milli park sýnýrlarýnda kalan zeytinlik.

Ankaraya bir dilekçe ve proje gönderdim. Kabul edilirse burasý son yerimiz olacak. Bundan sonra ne komþular, ne þikayet ne de taþýnma olacak…

I've read on the papers that you were asked to leave turkey, becuse you had no passport. Ýs this problem sorted?
My passport... yes because of my work with so many animals, there was never enough money to buy a ticket to leave the country for my visa or even for a visit to the family. I was alone with 250 cats. Who would look after them to my standards, who would do the heatments ( I do most of my own vetinery treatments) no money, no opportunity, no help I had no visa for so many years, my passport had expired for so many years.
When the villages in Orhaniye made an official complaint my passport problem became official.

I was arrested very kindly. I was released again each night to care for my animals and "arrested" the next day again. I have the support of the Hurriyet newspaper, and other leading citizens of this area. They all spoke up for me about my years in Turkey and my work with the street cats and dogs. The kindness from everyone, the Jandarma, the Emniyet Mudur, the Gumruk it was unbelievable! I was so overwhelmed and excited.
They gave me 14 days to get a new passport, pay the fine and visit Rhodes to aquire a new visa. They gave me every chance! Money for my fine (ceza) was over a Milyar, this was raised in 5 days from all over Europe and some money came from a few Turkish people. I am now legal and starting procedures for residency and finally I hope Turkish nationality.

Gazetelerde pasaportunuz olmadýðý için sýnýrdýþý edildiðinizi okumuþtum. Bu pasaport sorunu çözüldü mü?

Hayvanlarla uðraþmaktan visa almak için ya da ailemi ziyaret etmek için gidecek, bilet alacak param kalmamýþtý. 250 kediyle tek baþýnaydým. Kim benim yokluðumda, bu imkansýzlýkta, para yok, destek yok, benim standartlarýmda bu hayvanlara bakabilir? Uzun yýllar visam olmadý, pasaportumun da süresi geçmiþti. Orhaniye kasabasý resmi bir þikayette bulununca benim pasaport sorunum da resmileþti. Nazik bir þekilde tutuklandým. Her gece kedilerime bakmak için serbest býrakýldým, ertesi gün yine tutuklandým. Hürriyet gazetesinin ve çevredeki insanlarýn desteði oldu. Hepsi benim yýllardýr türkiyede yaþadýðýný ve iþimin sokak kedi ve köpekleriyle olduðunu söylediler. Jandarmadan, emniyet müdürlüðünden ve gümrükten aldýðým destek inanýlmazdý. Çok heyecanlandým. Yeni bir pasaport çýkarmam ve Rodos’a gidip visa almam ve cezamý ödemem için bana 2 hafta verdiler. Yapabilecekleri herþeyi yaptýlar. Cezam 1 milyarýn üstündeydi ve bu 5 günde toplandý. Artýk oturma izni için resmi olarak prosedürleri baþlýyorum ve umarým sonunda Türk vatandaþý olacaðým.

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