Sunday, June 16, 2024

Diplomacy and Tradition at the Turkish Residence

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Diplomat Magazine
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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

A Morning of Cultural Delights

On a pleasant morning, diplomatic spouses gathered at the Turkish Residence in The Hague for a delightful and culturally rich Turkish Breakfast hosted by Dr. Lerzan Kayıhan Ünal, spouse of His Excellency the Ambassador Selcuk Ünal. The event, organized under the auspices of the Embassy of Turkey and the Yunus Emre Institute in Amsterdam for the Association of Spouses of Ambassadors (ASA), was an exquisite journey into Turkish culinary and artistic traditions.

Welcoming Remarks and Historical Context

Welcoming the guests, Dr. Lerzan Kayıhan Ünal highlighted the historical significance of the venue. “Welcome to the Turkish Residence,” she began. “On this occasion of ASA, we are very happy to host you in the Turkish Residence, which is a Dutch cultural heritage building. This traditional house is 290 years old and has been with us since 1937. This year, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Turkish-Dutch Friendship Treaty of 1924. Therefore, the building has seen and witnessed most of the modern Turkish-Dutch ties and a lot in the history of The Hague.”

The Essence of Turkish Breakfast

As the event unfolded, guests were introduced to the rich and varied traditions of the Turkish breakfast, an essential part of Turkish gastronomy. Dr. Kayıhan Ünal elaborated on the diverse offerings, “A traditional Turkish breakfast consists of a selection of cheeses such as tulum, kaşar (cheddar), çökelek (cottage), and mihaliç, in addition to traditional white cheese. Along with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and leafy greens, black and green olives from the Marmara, Aegean, and north Aegean can be on the table, along with honey and homemade jam.

Freshly baked crispy breads and simit are served with Turkish tea in tulip-shaped glasses. Another highlight is menemen, a flavorful dish of eggs, tomatoes, and peppers. Turkish coffee may complement digestion afterwards.”

Regional Breakfast Variations

Dr. Kayıhan Ünal introduced several local Turkish breakfast menus, each with unique characteristics:

  • Aegean Breakfast: Light flavors with fresh vegetables.
  • Black Sea Breakfast: Regional dishes featuring various types of corn and the renowned Turkish tea grown along the Black Sea coast.
  • Gaziantep Breakfast: Known for its greens and delicious olives, Gaziantep is listed in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network in the field of gastronomy.
  • Van Breakfast: Famous for its geographically marked herbed cheese.

Dr. Kayıhan Ünal also emphasized the cultural importance of these breakfasts by supporting efforts to mark the 2nd of June as World Breakfast Day.

Turkish Tile Art – Çini

While enjoying the sumptuous breakfast, guests were introduced to another facet of Turkish culture: Çini (Tile) art. Lerzan Kayıhan Ünal described Çini as traditional, handmade glazed tiles and ceramics featuring colorful motifs of plants, animals, and geometric patterns, often found on facades of buildings and homes throughout Turkey.

“Çini is a symbolic aspect of Turkish cultural identity,” she noted, tracing its roots through Anatolian Seljuk and Ottoman styles to contemporary productions in Kütahya, İznik, and Çanakkale.

In the picture the spouses of Bulgaria Mrs. Nadya Dimitrova, Ecuador, Mrs. Maria Rosa Egüez, Slovenia, Mrs. Ala Adamia, Egypt, Mrs. Rania Abouelela, Bangladesh, Mrs. Sazia Ahmed Hamidullah, Türkiye, Mrs. Lerzan Kayıhan Unal -hostess, Moldova, Mrs. Victoria Dobinda, Tunisia, Mrs. Hager Denguezl, Morocco, Mrs. Insaf Ghanemi Basri, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mrs. Nela Ion Colin, South Korea, Mrs. Hyejung Kim.

Artistic Performances

Before handing the floor to Ms. Betül Aşlı Bayram, a renowned tile artist, Dr. Ünal introduced the artists present at the event. Ms. Bayram, a graduate of the Ceramics Department at Dumlupınar University, is a certified tile artist by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and was honored with the Art and Culture Award at the Golden Tulip Republic Ball in the Netherlands in 2022. She recently showcased her art on the Dutch national channel NPO2’s program BinnensteBuiten.

The event also featured an extraordinary performance by Mr. Şükrü Kiriş, a Ney flute artist born in Amsterdam. Mr. Kiriş has performed in prominent venues such as the Koninklijke Concertgebouw, Meervaart, and Theater Zuidplein, and has collaborated with the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble. He has also participated in programs in France, Belgium, and Germany.

Concluding her remarks, Dr. Kayıhan Ünal expressed gratitude to the Yunus Emre Institute in Amsterdam for their support in arranging the performances, enriching the event with a deeper cultural resonance.

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