Australia and Turkey unite for year-long festival to mark Gallipoli centenary / Suzanne Carbone

| March 12, 2015

suzanne_carboneTurkunay Erzeren stands at her stove stirring Turkish coffee in her cezve, the long-handled pot. Her “Turkish latte” with milk and sugar is poured into cups, providing a warm caffeine, and the last sip is the most important – the one that leaves sediment at the bottom.

Mrs Erzeren is an intuitive soul who reads the symbols in cups after the coffee-making and drinking ritual that unites her culture. It is an enriching social activity for the gentle matriarch. “It brings people together,” she said. “Afterwards, everyone fills your place with comfort and joy.”

Serving coffee with a plate of Turkish delight and baklava, the Ankara-born immigrant delights in nourishing those whom she calls “canim” – darling. A dear one is her daughter, Banu, and her darling is husband Andrew Knight, the renowned screenwriter who co-wrote the film The Water Diviner with Andrew Anastasios, which stars Russell Crowe as a farmer who goes to Istanbul after the battle of Gallipoli to find his three missing sons.

To mark the Gallipoli centenary, the Australian embassy in Ankara is delivering Australia in Turkey 2015, a year-long festival spanning gastronomy, the arts, music and sport to celebrate contemporary Australian culture. Arts guru Michelle Wild is the producer of the festival.

Mrs Erzeren and her coffee cup feature in Talking Turkey, a documentary being produced and directed by Melbourne’s Sue Thomson and hosted by her husband, Brian Nankervis, and fellow comedian Colin Lane.

Another Aussie accent will resound in Turkey when Hugh Jackman flashes his Hollywood grin during his concert, An Evening with Hugh Jackman, at the Zorlu Centre in Istanbul from March 17 to 20.

Expect Jackman to be mobbed after he revealed his grandfather was an Ottoman and declared himself a Turk. He told the Hurriyet Daily News: “Do not think that I’m saying this because I’m coming to Turkey, but I am a Turk. Yes, I think I may say that I’m a Turk.”

It was enough for self-appointed bible Wikipedia to add him to the “List of Turkish Australians”.

Jackman’s performance isn’t officially part of “Australia in Turkey” but he adds showbiz razzle dazzle in a momentous year for the two countries along with showgirl Kylie Minogue, who will blow kisses in Istanbul at her Kiss Me Once concert on June 16.

The aroma of Turkish coffee in Australia peaked during the immigration wave in 1970, and the 2011 census shows there were 59,623 Turkish speakers nationwide. In Melbourne, most settled in the multicultural northern suburbs.

Orthopaedic surgeon Altay Altuntas arrived in Australia when he was six and lived in Brunswick surrounded by a large Turkish community. He recalls eating pastries from the Golden Terrace restaurant on Sydney Road, a dining destination for kebabs and pide that extends to Coburg.

Climbing the professional ranks to specialise in joint reconstruction and replacement, he has formed a network with Turkish doctors and others. “I’ve got a handful of friends who migrated recently and my network in Turkey has connected me with those people,” he said. “They refresh my Turkish culture.”

Dr Altuntas noted the prominence of Turks in professions, trades and businesses. “The Turkish community is moving from that factory-based employment to contributing further to the community.”

Politics is a popular vocation given the Victorian government has three MPs of Turkish origin: Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Adem Somyurek, Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren, and member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman.

Back at the home of Mrs Erzeren, the coffee drinker places the saucer over the cup and circles it three times with their left hand because it is closer to the heart. Mrs Erzeren sees things in its depths that others can’t. “Afterwards, I hear from people and they comment that everything I said was right,” she said.



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Category: Haber, Köşe Yazıları, Toplum

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