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Turkish Ambassador: Breakfast Indispensable in Turkish Food Culture


Sun 02 Jun 2024 | 01:38 PM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

Turkish Ambassador to Egypt Salih Mutlu Şen stated that breakfast is an essential meal in Turkish culture, and Turkey places great importance on promoting Turkish breakfast traditions and culture.

This was mentioned during his speech at the breakfast event held at the Ambassador's residence in Cairo on the occasion of World Breakfast Day.

Ambassador Şen highlighted that World Breakfast Day is celebrated worldwide on June 2 each year. He continued by saying, “In Turkish culture, breakfast is a main meal. Therefore, Turkey emphasizes the importance of promoting Turkish breakfast culture and traditions. Health experts all stress the importance of starting the day with a strong and healthy breakfast.”

“We Turks, especially myself, grew up on olives and olive oil; it is a magical remedy for a healthy and long life. Olive oil is an indispensable component of our breakfast. During one of my visits to Arish, I discovered the extra virgin, cold-pressed, natural, and original Arish olive oil and bought dozens of bottles. Now, every morning, I start my breakfast on an empty stomach by mixing Lake Lemon with Arish olive oil and drinking it. Doctors recommend waking up early and having a rich breakfast with vitamins, minerals, and proteins before starting a busy and tiring day for mental and physical health,” said Şen.

“One of the main features of the Turkish breakfast is its richness and variety. Turkish breakfast includes many products like meats, sausages, and pastrami, which are more common in England and Northern countries. Additionally, there are other items such as jam, honey, olives, and butter, similar to Europe. However, Turkish breakfast is distinguished by pastries, yogurt, vegetables, and most importantly, olives, which are indispensable on the breakfast table. Naturally, we must add simit and cheese pastry. It can be said that the basis of Turkish breakfast is olives and cheese, which are usually eaten with Turkish simit or bread,” Şen added.

He continued, “Therefore, breakfast holds an indispensable place in Turkish food culture. For a healthy and long life, food and shelter are fundamental human needs, and access to food and shelter is a basic human right. Unfortunately, amidst the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza today, it is impossible to talk about access to food and shelter even for children and women. Over 36,000 Palestinian brothers and sisters have been martyred in the ongoing war by Israel in Gaza despite international calls.”

“Moreover, our Palestinian brothers and sisters, who are trying to survive in tents, streets, and sidewalks, are deprived of the minimum health and food necessary to sustain their lives. In the long run, the inability to access food can lead not only to diseases, stress, and anxiety but also to significant chronic illnesses. Additionally, access to healthcare in Gaza is currently extremely limited and insufficient,” he said.

Regarding shelter, Şen noted that 70% of homes in Gaza have been destroyed. “Many Palestinians who lost their homes and were displaced to the south at Israel's call try to live in temporary tents, and many lost their lives due to Israeli shelling in Rafah, even in places indicated by Israel. In other words, it is unfortunately no longer possible to live as a human and be safe anywhere in Gaza,” he added.

“Turkey and Egypt have not been indifferent to this humanitarian tragedy. Turkey, with the support of Egypt, has delivered tens of thousands of tons of food aid to Gaza since the beginning of the war. However, since food is consumed daily and there is no way to store or preserve it due to the lack of electricity and fuel in Gaza, there is a necessity to continuously and regularly provide food for about two million people every day. Despite the best efforts of UN institutions like UNRWA and the World Food Programme, food cannot be delivered adequately due to the siege and strict controls imposed by Israel. The opening of the Kerem Shalom border crossing for the delivery of humanitarian aid waiting in Egypt, under the temporary solution reached between President Sisi and President Biden, is a positive development. However, due to insufficient security, a significant portion of the humanitarian aid cannot be received and distributed to those in need in Gaza through Kerem Shalom,” he explained.

“We know that the dock built by America has also been destroyed, and the aid that can be delivered through this dock is already limited. Therefore, the Rafah border crossing, providing direct access from Egypt to Gaza, is indispensable for humanitarian aid. However, Israel's unjust and illegal occupation of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing and its control over it, in violation of the agreements reached, along with the Rafah military operation, have temporarily disrupted the use of the Rafah border crossing,” he said.

“Turkey has called on Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing, and Egypt has made the same call. We support Egypt's stance on this issue. To urgently deliver humanitarian aid, especially food aid, Israel must withdraw from the Rafah border crossing as soon as possible and hand over the management of the crossing to Palestinians,” Şen emphasized.

Regarding the situation in Egypt, he mentioned that about 100,000 Palestinian brothers and sisters came to Egypt after October 7. “We know that the Egyptian authorities provide all kinds of understanding and support in terms of health, shelter, and food using all available resources. We are trying to provide humanitarian support to our brothers and sisters in Gaza as much as we can in Egypt. The embassy will host 500 Palestinian families from Gaza on the second day of Eid and distribute sacrificial meat and gifts. As a gesture of sympathy or a small gesture of solidarity, we hope to express some solidarity on this blessed holiday we all share,” Şen noted.

“Turkey will continue to support our brothers and sisters in Gaza in cooperation with Egypt and our brothers and sisters living in Egypt within its means. Additionally, we will try to offer scholarships to Palestinian youth, children, and students in Egypt through civil society organizations. We will try to reach out to patients and support them. In other words, we will continue to make every effort to be brothers and sisters to Palestinians as much as we can. We hope that the war will end soon and that a ceasefire will be reached as soon as possible thanks to Egypt's efforts, and that humanitarian needs in Gaza will be adequately met. We hope that the recovery process will begin, followed by the reconstruction process. Turkey will mobilize all its resources and be at the forefront of all these processes,” he added.

“As you know, the sensitivity of the Turkish stance on Gaza resonates in our President's calls to the international community. This difficult and catastrophic humanitarian situation has made the international community remember and pay attention to the Palestinian issue. Lastly, the recognition of an independent State of Palestine by Spain, Norway, and Ireland is a very positive development, and we welcomed it as well. Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan visited Spain as part of the Contact Group of Arab and Islamic countries and met with Spanish authorities,” he said.

“We congratulate Spain, Norway, and Ireland for their honorable, strong, and noble stance in favor of justice and truth. We demand and expect the entire international community to recognize an independent and sovereign State of Palestine as soon as possible, accept it as a member of the United Nations, and pave the way for an irreversible two-state solution so that Palestine can live a dignified and respectable human life on the 1967 borders,” Şen concluded.