$3 delayed Tri-State family's return from Turkey

Posted at 7:03 PM, Apr 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-16 00:36:40-04

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A Tri-State woman living in Turkey said a simple piece of personal information and a few dollars were all that stood between her and getting her family back to the U.S.

Jane Savcilioglu said she, her husband and — now — their newborn baby have been living in the volatile, Eurasian country for almost a year, but they have been trying to move back home for months now, due to increased conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, known more commonly as ISIL or ISIS.

“Turkey is facing a serious crisis among themselves and with ISIS,” Savcilioglu said. “So, we need to get out as soon as possible.”

The reason for the delay? The issue originated in the timing of their child’s birth. In order for her newborn to be granted citizenship, Savcilioglu needed to show proof that she was a U.S. citizen. The consulate in Turkey told her the best way to do that was to prove where she went to high school.

The snag came when, in order to get her high school transcript from the Northwest Local School District in Hamilton County, she needed to pay the standard $3 fee — a process that, Savcilioglu said, took longer than she ever expected.

“Typically, if I were in America, if I were in Ohio, if I were in Cincinnati, if I were in Hamilton County — I could go to the school board and pay the three dollars,” she said.

“However, I’m 6,000 miles away, and that’s impossible.”

Savcilioglu said she suggested several methods of payment to the school board, but said she didn’t get an immediate response.

Eventually she heard back, she said, and after a week of back-and-forth, the district decided they still couldn’t issue the transcript but did agree to send a letter on the district’s official letterhead, confirming that she attended Colerain High School, which resolved the issue.

Savcilioglu said she was shocked at the hoops she had to jump through.

“I was startled and completely disappointed that I can’t bring my daughter back to America because I didn’t have $3 to pay for proof that I attended a public high school,” she told WCPO by video conference on Friday.

WCPO has reached out to Colerain High School for comment and is currently awaiting a reply.

As for the Savcilioglu family: They’re expected to arrive back in the Tri-State in June.