After losing her purse in September 2019, Nikita Turvey desperately searched her home and work from top to bottom looking for it
An NHS test and trace worker who lost her purse in Britain was shocked after it was found by a recycling worker in Turkey more than a year later - and the two strangers are now unlikely friends.
Nikita Turvey, 24, desperately searched her home and work looking for her purse in September 2019, but could not find it anywhere.
Ms Turvey, from Harlow, Essex, accepted that it was gone for good and set about ordering new cards, work passes and identification cards.
But a year later, in November 2020, she received a message from a stranger on Instagram who sent her a photograph of her missing student card that had been inside the lost purse.
The man, named Kaya, works with recycling materials in Turkey and revealed that he had discovered Ms Turvey's purse on the ground, so he decided to find its rightful owner.
The two have since struck up a friendship through social media and chat regularly - with Ms Turvey saying she would love to meet up with Kaya if he ever had the chance to come to Britain.
Ms Turvey, who works as a NHS COVID test and tracer, said: 'I was gutted when I lost my purse. It has all my college cards in it that I'd saved and my work pass.
'I have no idea when or how I lost it, I just know at that time I was working a lot. It might have somehow fallen into a recycling bin.
The 24-year-old from Harlow, Essex, had accepted that it was gone for good and set about the annoying task of ordering all new cards, work passes and I.Ds
In November 2020, Ms Turvey received a message from a stranger on Instagram who sent her a photograph of the student card that has been inside her lost purse
The man named Kaya works with recycling materials in Turkey and revealed that he had discovered Nikita's purse on the ground, so he decided to find its rightful owner
While Ms Turvey instructed Kaya to just throw the purse out, Kaya said he would keep the two 20p coins that were in it as a 'memory' - and jokingly added that he would bring the purse to England one day to return it to her
'I spent a solid week looking everywhere at home, at work, in all my coat pockets, in old bags. I looked everywhere but had no luck.
'I had no idea that at that time it was already starting its journey to Turkey.
'Then in November I had a random request in my messages in Instagram. I was a bit wary at first.
'But then I realised he had found my purse, and I was gobsmacked when I realised he wasn't from England.
'We talked a lot for a few days. He sent me a video out walking in Turkey and I was showing him what England is like.
'It was quite nice to be connected in such a nice humane way after the year of lockdown, and feeling so disconnected from everyone in the world.
'I'd definitely like to meet up with Kaya if he ever made his way to the UK!'
While Ms Turvey instructed Kaya to just throw the purse out, Kaya said he would keep the two 20p coins that were in it as a 'memory' - and jokingly added that he would bring the purse to England one day to return it to her.
While she is thankful she was lucky in this case, Ms Turvey warns of the dangers of England sending recycling to Turkey - both on a personal level and for the environment.
While she is thankful she was lucky in this case, Ms Turvey warns of the dangers of England sending recycling to Turkey - both on a personal level and for the environment
She added: 'I had no idea our recycling went to Turkey. I kind of assumed we sent it abroad but I didn't realise the vast scale in which we do.
'Since then I have learnt more about what we do with our recycling and wrote to my MP to share my concerns.
'We are literally overfilling Turkey, and other countries, with our recycling. It seems so backwards that we don't do it ourselves.
'It's unnecessarily adding to our carbon footprint.
'It also worried me because lots of people's data goes into recycling, and things like my purse could have led to fraud and other problems.
'But thankfully for me, I've made a friend.
'There's nothing Kaya could have gained from messaging me except just general excitement over the purse making it to Turkey and wanting to share it with me and there's something lovely about that.
'I think social media can be a negative thing in a lot of people's lives but this shows how it can be used to bring people together and connect people from overseas.'