MERSIN, Turkey

Turkey’s first female traffic police reminisced about her journey of becoming police when she was just 18 in Istanbul, Turkey’s metropolis city in 1968.

Fikriye Yavuz, a 71-year-old retired police officer, shared her memories with Anadolu Agency about the days when she would give direction to the traffic in Istanbul.

Yavuz, now living in Mersin, a port city in southern Turkey, said after graduating from high school, she had applied to become police officer when she saw a job ad in the newspaper. However, she did not know if women would be hired as traffic police.

Yavuz said a telegram was delivered to her house but her father had hidden it from her, she added later she found out about the letter thanks to her brother.

Yavuz’s father did not want her to take the job but after days of trying to convince her father, she succeeded.

“I was Turkey’s first-ever woman traffic police people would find it strange, be surprised and some would admire it.

“I was also excited about it since I came to a big city from the countryside,” Yavuz said.

As the first woman to lead the traffic, Yavuz said a uniform was sewed specially for her during the time.

Subject to the news in ’70s

Yavuz said many journalists would knock on her door those days to come up with the news.

Headlines like “People who watched the first female trafficker with curiosity caused traffic jam” and “Pretty girls have become police, let’s not overtake” filled the pages of newspapers, Yavuz said.

“Now, when I see female traffic police officers, I instantly become happy. I wish in my time we were also as crowded as now so then I would not draw too much attention,” she said.

Yavuz, who is still keeping her service documents, old newspapers, and her uniform, says it is the symbol of life for her.

As Turkey’s first female police, Yavuz started her journey in Istanbul and later worked in several branches, she gave lessons in the academy, became a chief inspector, and retired as a police chief in 2009.

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