Britain left behind again by Istanbul’s Whatsapp toilets

Ed O'Meara
4 min readApr 8, 2019

Ed O’Meara takes a Turkish toilet safari and wipes away preconceptions about the Pottyman Empire.

In an era dominated by international humiliation, Britain can claim few things to be proud of. But our toilets have been a source of reliable national pride and are far from bog standard. After all, the powerhouses of the privy have been Brits.

Flushed with pride

Author, poet and scatologist John Harington brought us the flushing toilet in 1596. Joseph Bramah of Yorkshire patented the first practical water closet in 1778. Squatting on the shoulders of giants leafing through a magazine, George Jennings took out a patent for the flush-out toilet in 1852. The Victorian era also brought us the modern fitted bog thanks to loo legend Thomas Crapper.

For while many nations throw their spoiled butt rags in Satan’s festering waste paper basket, Britain’s can flush their TP down the WC in comfort. It’s plumbing with aplomb.

Poo poo

Turkey initially seemed another horror destination for this itchy-bottomed travel fan. At their most basic, Turkey’s toilets have evolved little beyond its Roman forbears. For no matter how you tart it up with imperial glory, after bread and games your average Costantiopolitan (I’m guessing) still needed the lav. And from emperor to street sweeper, it all boils down to a number 2 on ‘Squat of the plops’.

Squitty, squatty, splatty.

Fast forward a little less than a thousand years and the standard mode of dropping the centurions at the pool has changed little. Certainly, there may be a few more tiles, but the end result is no less vile. I don’t care if it’s better for the human u-bend. This is not a comfortable dirt throne to Facebook on…

But as is the way with foreign travel, Istanbul held plenty of surprises.

Wee wee

For a nation with famously filthy facilities and even a fragrance called eau de toilette, the French have a decidely ambivalent approach to toilets. For while they’ve escaped the tyranny of toilet paper (where are the “three sea shells” promised to us in Demolition Man?) the bidet isn’t universally available. And even when it is, who wants to be sat upon a steaming hot geyser when it unexpectedly erupts into the unprepared posterior?

Fortunately, I found toilets in Istanbul that took water technology and fired it in a more empathetic direction. Behold…

It may look basic, but this toilet is a winner. Once you’ve emptied the fudge factory out-sluice, a horizontal jet of water can be turned on, skimming the underside of the buttocks like a playful but sinister dolphin. This is precision poo poo extraction. A car wash for your undercarriage. Plus, a clever mechanism allows you to raise or lower your posterior in and out of the stream — your legs. And that’s not all!

Have you ever been to a coach station toilet and gone through the ritual of creating a toilet paper nest on the seat? Not anymore, buster, because this process is now automated. So, no more fabled loo seat pregnancies/ drug injections. At a touch of a sensor, Tottolet makes a robotic noise and replaces a fresh sleeve of plastic under your arse cheeks. The motion is reminiscent of a airport luggage belt, except for your bottom. Necessary? Probably not. But if you’re the kind of psychopath that covers your furniture with plastic — welcome home.

Did you know you can WhatsApp the toilet company from the toilet? It’s pretty gross because anyone who works at that company knows that when they receive a message, their valued customer is probably complaining with their trousers down. While this leaves the customer at a serious disadvanatage, at least the poo emoji finally comes into its own.

Crap to the Future

Of course, I haven’t mentioned the porcelain elephant in the room — Japan. For while Turkey make be streaks ahead of the UK, Japan are shite-years into the future. While Turkish toilets have their gimmicks, the amount of tech stuffed into Japanese bogs represents an existential threat to humanity. If there’s one technology likely to reek havoc on humanity, it’s an army of self aware Cyberdyne crappers with built-in bidets: Turdinator Number 2: Judgement Spray.

It’s up to poo, Britain

For Britain to be taken seriously on the world toilet stage, we need to upgrade our toilet game. We live at a time beset by global challenges: climate breakdown, ecological collapse, financial and political uncertainty. Surely only by talking to a toilet company customer representative on WhatsApp can we even begin to meet these challenges. Contact your MP to demand fancier toilets today!

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Ed O'Meara

Copywriter and historical comedian. Looking for the gravy train.