In Turkey, labelling food ‘Kurdish’ still controversial

The Ottoman Empire had a rich culinary tradition flavoured by its various diverse regions and ethnic groups. Chefs in Istanbul’s imperial kitchens borrowed dishes from the different enclaves of the empire – the Balkans, Greece, the Caucasus, Kurdistan, Arabia – fused them with their Central Asian roots, and refined them to create their own unique concoctions, such as baklava, dumplings, stuffed vegetables and various types of kebab.

Present-day Turkey has inherited this cosmopolitan culinary legacy. However, the modern republic defined its identity ethnically, specifically with the Turkish ethnicity. In the past it severely oppressed its various minorities, and in the case of the largest – the Kurds – even denied their very existence, though this repression has largely declined through major reforms in more recent years.

Read more of this post

Residents of doomed ancient town have nowhere to go

The small ancient town of Hasankeyf in southeastern Turkey.

The small ancient town of Hasankeyf in southeastern Turkey.

ISTANBUL – Hasankeyf, an 11,500 year-old town in southeastern Turkey with vestiges of 20 distinct cultures, is slated to be under 60 metres of water in the near future. As construction of the controversial Ilisu Dam nears completion some 80 kilometres away, the government is encouraging the 3,000 mostly poor residents to move into apartments they can’t afford.

“They killed Hasankeyf,” says Ercan Tarhan, who works at a café in the village. He says he doesn’t have much hope for saving his town, and isn’t sure what he’ll do after it’s flooded. “We don’t want to leave.”

Read more of this post