16 June 2009

2887) Some Reflections On The Cultural Relationships Between Turks And Armenians

Assist Prof. Dr. Gürsoy ŞAHİN
Afyon Kocatepe University Faculty of Science and Letters Department of History / Afyonkarahisar

INTRODUCTION
Turkish people and Armenians lived in an amicable way for a long time under the Ottoman administration, and they interacted with each other in social and cultural areas as a natural consequence of social life. The interaction between the two societies became so deep that they became as pieces of the whole in many areas from traditions and languages to dressing styles and daily lives. We think that it is not an exaggeration to say that religion is the only characteristic differentiating Armenians from Turkish people. . .

First, we will give examples of social and cultural relations of Turkish and Armenians people in our study. Next, we’ll try to show the partnership of food culture and names found in both Turkish society and in Armenian society of those who emigrated and those who stayed in the US. These are examples of the close interaction between the Armenians and the Turks in Ottoman society.


I. SOCIAL AND CULTURAL REFLECTIONS OF TURKISH AND ARMENIAN SOCIETIES

There are many examples of the interaction in the social lives of Turkish and Armenian societies. While evaluating the social relationships, we will use examples from Henry John Van Lennep’s (1815-1889)1 impressions about Turkish and Armenian cultural relations in 1840-1869 when he was an American missionary in Turkey. His being in Turkey, his extensive studies in various parts of the country, his being a foreigner with cultural knowledge in a high degree, and his studies being focused on Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire make his impressions about the cultural relationships of Turkish people and Armenians important for us.

Villagers have the leading role of keeping social traditions alive in the most intense and pure manner. Since relationships in villages are more sincere and based on cooperation, there are many similarities in Turkish and Armenian villagers’ life styles and many elements used in village life.

As seen in Picture 1 and 2, Turkish villager costumes and village life are not much different from Armenian villagers’. This is quite natural and this sample shows the unity of the lifestyles. It would be unusual that two cultures sharing the same geography and living in the same climate would not have commonalities. Also, Anatolian geography which causes them to have similar needs should not be forgotten.

The two cultures also affected each other in the area of music, which is an important element of Ottoman cultural variation. As seen in the picture below, as in Turkish society, bagpipes are one of the favorite musical instruments aside from the drum among Armenians. In Pic-

1 Henry J. Van Lennep as a congregationalist missionary, travelled and searched first in Smyrna (1840-1844; 1863-1869), Constantinople (1844-1854) and Tokat (1854-1856) and then in Egypt and Eastern part of Turkey. In his country, he undertook the edition of some studies about Armenians. For more information Gürsoy Şahin, “Amerikalı bir Misyonerin XIX. Yüzyılın Ortalarında Türk-Ermeni Kültürel İlişkileri ile İlgili İzlenimleri Üzerine bir Değerlendirme”, Afyon Kocatepe Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi Ermeni Özel Sayısı, Vol. VII, No. 1, (June 2005), pp. 208-239.

ture 3, an Armenian bagpiper Püsküllü Artin, who lived in the village of Niksar, is playing his bagpipe accompanied by a drum. Some of the villagers are dancing a folk dance, and old people, children, and women are watching them2.

As found in decorative arts and architecture, another important area of social interaction, two societies living in the same environment use the same materials for building and decorating. The houses in which people lived show the common tastes of the two societies (See Picture 4-5). There are also a lot of similarities in their clothes.

2 Rev. Henry J. Van Lennep, The Oriental Album: Twenty Illustrations; in Oil Colors of the People and Scenery of Turkey, (public. by Pars Tuğlacı), Altayhan Matbaası, İstanbul 1985, p. 116; also Henry J. Van Lennep, Travels in Little-Known Parts of Asia Minor, Vol. I, (public. by John Murray), London 1870, p. 248. Picture-1 Turkish Peasant Woman Picture-2 Armenian Peasant Woman Lennep, Oriental Album, p. 21, 33. Picture -3 An Armenian Bagpiper Lennep, ibid, p. 23.

The clothes seen in Picture 5 are the Armenian women’s national costume. The Armenian women’s dress is worn on another dress. It is a very long dress which is opened towards two sides. Lennep explained that as in many parts of the country, Armenians in Istanbul closely followed the fashion and spent a lot of money on their clothes as Turkish women did. For example, there is a jewel worth no less than 3 thousand dollars on the Armenian woman carrying a coffee tray in the picture 53.

In picture 6, an Armenian house in Kandilli shows the inside of the house arranged perfectly with the sofas taking up nearly three walls of the house like in Turkish homes4. The inside of the

3 Lennep, Oriental Album, p. 118-119.
4 Lennep, ibid, p. 105.
Picture -4 A Turkish Woman and Her House Picture -5 An Armenian Woman and Her House Lennep, ibid, p. 17, 25.
Picture-6 An Armenian Woman in Istanbul and Her House Lennep, ibid, p. 13.



houses are covered with plaster and decorated with woodwork according to the owner’s budget. There are countryside views and fruit and flower pictures on the walls, and we can see that the ceiling is decorated with patterns in both societies’ houses5. We can see this situation in the Turkish house in picture 4 and also in the Armenian house in picture 5. The sameness of the patterns is a reflection of common tastes from living in the same environment that has always managed to unify the different societies.

In picture 7, a Turkish woman and a girl wearing the same clothes as her mother are seen in the foreground. The woman in the background is an Armenian woman. In the 19th century, some Armenian and Greek women in the capital city adopted European styles and even hats. But, the Armenians who live in other cities didn’t experience these developments in the same periods.

As can be seen from the Armenian woman standing in the background and holding an umbrella, some of the non-Muslims used European style gloves and shoes. Christian women covered their faces when outside the home for the sake their personal security. Non-Muslim women preferred to go out with the clothes that they wore at home when they weren’t afraid of meeting people who felt hostility because of their beliefs6. Wedding ceremonies in the two societies were also similar. If the people who got married were rich, entertainment and festivals would occur for many days before the ceremony. Feasts with music used to

5 Lennep, ibid, p. 119.
6 Lennep, ibid, p. 101.
Picture-7 Turkish and Armenian Women outside the House
Lennep, ibid, p. 9.


be given at both the bride’s and the bridegroom’s houses. Most of the time, the dining tables would be set and would stay in that way from morning to evening. All the close relatives of the two sides and even the other people took their places at the dining tables. The people who couldn’t come used to be sent to their homes. The food often was pilaf, lamb and strong drink, such as raki. In many ceremonies, both priests and guest used to drink until they were drunk and had to be taken to their homes.

Picture 8 shows an Armenian wedding, and in this picture, the bridegroom holds the hand of his best man and the bride sits on a horse. The horse is followed by the male relatives of the bride and her female friends come after them7. Behind the group, ten or twelve of the bridegroom’s best men, who are dressed as the bridegrooms, follow and imitate all the behaviors of the bridegroom to amuse the people8. The tradition of the bridegroom’s best man’s being present near the bridegroom in the wedding ceremonies in Turkish society still continues as it was in old times. However, the bridegroom’s best man is a single person in Turkish society. Besides small differences, Armenian and Turkish wedding ceremonies are quite similar and those two elements of social structure enrich the Ottoman culture.

In picture 9, the bride stands in her new house and her mother-inlaw meets the guests. The minstrel sits on the floor and amuses the family with his stringed instrument and songs9. The women usually enjoyed themselves by playing, and this tradition is also available in Turkish society. These bridal attitudes (gelinlik etmek) are one of the common traditional behaviors between Turks and Armenians. The term “gelinlik etmek” means that the bride doesn’t speak with the mother-in-law and the others at meals of the house for a certain period of time. During that time, the brides have to eat their food under their veils. This common behavior of Turkish society is also valid among Armenians10.

7 Lennep, ibid, p. 120-121.
8 Lennep, ibid, p. 122.
9 Lennep, ibid, p. 123.
10 Zeki Arıkan, “Türk-Ermeni Kültür İlişkileri Üzerine”, Bilim ve Aklın Aydınlığında Eğitim, (Tarihten Bir Kesit-Özel Sayı), (MEB yayını), Year 4, No. 38, (April 2003), p. 52-53; Yaşar Kalafat, “Türk-Ermeni Kültür İlişkilerinde Mitolojik Boyut”, Bilim


When the priest comes to the house towards evening, he takes the money that he has bargained for directing the ceremony, then he sanctifies the couple and he takes off the small crucifix that he has put on the bride’s head11. This situation is not seen in Turkish culture. As natural, the religious customs in the wedding ceremonies of Turkish and Armenian societies are different from each other but they nearly have the same characteristics. The entertainment of the youth continues in the same way in both societies after the religious ceremony and the remaining part of the evening is spent with fun, the visitors and the congratulations are accepted on the following day.

As seen in the pictures, the social lives of Armenian and Turkish people were quite similar and these two parts of social structure enriched the Ottoman culture. All of these common behaviors and tastes are significant evidence for how well the two societies influenced each other until the ends of 19th century.

ve Aklın Aydınlığında Eğitim, (Tarihten Bir Kesit-Özel Sayı), (MEB yayını), Year 4, No. 38, (April 2003), p. 100.
11 Lennep, ibid, p. 122-123; Lennep, Travels, Vol. I, p. 270, 276.


Pictures 8 and 9 -Views of Wedding Ceremonies of the Armenians Lennep, ibid, s. 27, 29.

II. Reflections On Turkish And Armenian Cultural Relations Up To The Present

The relations between Turks and Armenians began to change at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century with the effect of European countries and with the contribution of the missionaries. Many missionaries came to Anatolia from the European countries12. The general aim of the missionaries coming to Anatolia was to make the Ottoman people Christians; however, this situation wasn’t possible for Muslims since changing religion required the death penalty13. For these reasons, the missionaries paid more attention to the Armenians.

As a result of the missionaries’ provocation of Armenians against the Ottoman Empire for their own benefits, Turkish-Armenian relations lost its positive characteristics and by gaining a new dimension, it developed into a conflict. Since the second half of the 19th century, Armenians and some of the Christians from the Greek and Lebanese population of the Ottoman Empire began to emigrate to the US. At the end of the 1870s and in the 1880s, especially Armenians from Harput, joined the Armenian merchants and students who left14.

It is understood from the sources that Armenians who emigrated to the US from different regions had good relations with each other. At first, young Armenians from the Ottoman Empire planned to earn

12 See Seçil Akgün, “Amerikalı Misyonerlerin Anadolu’ya Bakışları”, Ankara Üniversitesi Osmanlı Tarihi Araştırmaları Merkezi Dergisi (OTAM), No. 3, Ankara 1992, p. 1-16; Seçil Akgün, “Amerikalı Misyonerlerin Raporlarında Türk İmajı”, I. Uluslararası Seyahatnamelerde Türk ve Batı İmajı Sempozyumu, (28.X-1. XI.1985), Eskişehir 1987, p. 336; Necmettin Tozlu, “Misyonerlik Faaliyetleri ve Eğitim”, Yeni Türkiye Ermeni Sorunu, Özel Sayısı II, (March-April 2001), Year 7, No. 38, p. 921; Uygur Kocabaşoğlu, Kendi Belgeleriyle Anadolu’daki Amerika, 19. Yüzyılda Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’ndaki Amerikan Misyoner Okulları, Arba yayınları, İstanbul 1989, p. 16.
13 See Ahmet Yaşar Ocak, Osmanlı Toplumunda Zındıklar ve Mülhidler (15.-17. Yüzyıllar), Tarih Vakfı Yurt yayını, press 2, İstanbul 1999, p. 61-62, 67-69.
14 Haluk Selvi, “Amerika Birleşik Devletlerinde Ermeni Faaliyetleri”, Bilim ve Aklın Aydınlığında Eğitim, (Tarihten Bir Kesit-Özel Sayı), (MEB yayını), Year 4, No. 38, (April 2003), p. 120; also Erdal Açıkses, “Osmanlı Devleti’ndeki Misyonerlik Faaliyetleri ile İlgili Bir Değerlendirme (İki Merkezden Örnekler)”, Yeni Türkiye Ermeni Sorunu, Özel Sayısı II, (March-April 2001), Year 7, No. 38, p. 943.


enough money overseas, leaving their wives and children at home and then returning to their homes15. However, later, especially since the 1930s, the characteristics of the Armenians in the US changed; they went to the US with their families and stayed there and were not the workers who thought to go back to their homes in the Ottoman Empire. While some of the Armenians in the US rsn restaurants, some of them worked as tailors, barbers, shoemakers, and especially bakers and grocers. The Armenian emigrations didn’t come to end in later times; in the 1960-70s there were emigrations from countries, such as Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Greek, Bulgaria, and Romania. It is also known that some Armenians emigrated to the US after the dissolution of Soviet Union in 199116.

At the time of the Ottoman Empire, the two cultures’ social relations were so deep sources show that Armenians who emigrated from the second half of the 19th century still show the effects of mutual interaction. According to our thinking, the food acquires much more importance in showing the interaction of the societies. In this respect, we can say that food, besides the common styles of dress and decoration, is a cultural category which defines societies17, and common food is an important element which shows the interaction of the societies.

The reason is that the kitchen culture, the sharing of food, the sameness of the food tastes, and words related to the meal are some of the things that can unify societies.

The point that we want to emphasize in our research is that Armenians, who are from the population of the Ottoman Empire, still carried on their food culture after migrating to the US. The source which 15 For examples when the Hood Rubber Company opened in Watertown in 1896, it hired about 40 Armenian laborers. Twenty of those men boarded in the Watertown home of Kevork Nakashian. A neighborhood of Armenian-speaking Hood employees began to form near Nakashian’s home on the corner of Crawford St. and Coolidge Hill Road, not far from where the Watertown Mall is today. See http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=123 (19.05.2006).

16 http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=123 (19.05.2006).
17 Sami Zubaıda, “Ortadoğu Yemek Kültürlerinin Ulusal, Yerel ve Küresel Boyutları”, Ortadoğu Mutfak Kültürleri, (edt: Sami Zubaıda-Richard Tapper), (trans. by Ülkün Tansel), Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, İstanbul 2000, p. 37.



attracted our attention about this subject is the cookbook Adventures in Armenian Cooking18, which includes information about Armenian food names, their ingredients and methods of cooking. The first edition was printed in 1973 and is still available online. In fact, it is stated in the introduction that Armenians were influenced by its near eastern neighbours, such as Turkish, Greek, Syrian, Persian, and Arabic societies.

While mentioning food names below, it will be possible to clearly see that interaction. While some of the foods have Turkish origin, some of them have Persian, Arab or Greek origins.

For this analysis, we think that no source will be needed to understand the many kinds of food that are mentioned as Armenian foods. It should be mentioned that we couldn’t determine exactly what some of the foods are. In any case, the ones that can be understood will be the important ones for us. In the sources related to the topic, the English names of the foods are written first and followed by the original names. We also follow the same method. Since it’s necessary to include explanations, we prefer to put the list form of these food names in conclusion part.

a) Appetizers

As the appetizers there are foods such as: stuffed grape leaves (yalanchy sarma/ patat), mixed pickles (tourshi), pickled swiss chard (pandjar tourshi), pickled green peppers stuffed with chopped vegetables (salamorah tourshi), cured spiced meat (basterma), Armenian spiced dried sausage (soujookh), Armenian cheese (haigacan banir), mussels with rice mixture (midia pilaf ), eggplant yogurt dip (patlijan (sempoog) madzoon meza), fried cheese turnovers (dabgadz banir boerag), eggplant dip (patlijan (sempoog) meza), eggplant with tahini (baba ghanoush-patlijan (sempoog) meza), crushed chick peas and crushed sesame seed dip (siserr and taheen dip), salted & toasted pumpkin or squash seeds (tutumi good), and layered garbanzo bean pâté (topik).

18 Adventures in Armenian Cooking, by St. Gregory’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Indian Orchard, Massachusetts 1973; http://www.armeniapedia.org/index. php?title=Adventures_in_Armenian_Cooking (19.05.2006); also http://www. cilicia.com/armo_cb_mees.html (19.05.2006).

The appetizers which are stuffed are: grape leaves, pickles, pickled swiss chard, pickled green peppers stuffed with chopped vegetables, cured spiced meat Armenian spiced dried sausage, eggplant with tahini (baba ghanoush-patlijan (sempoog) meza) come first. It is known that these appetizers are still produced and consumed with the same names. Also, it’s useful to note that eggplant with tahini is still prepared in the forms of (baba ghanoush-patlijan (sempoog) meza) “abagannuş, babagannuş, babagannüç” as eggplant with yogurt19. The word “topik” (layered garbanzo bean pâté) coming from Armenian origin is also known as rolled of chickpea and is still used in our Turkish language in the meaning of the appetizer made from sesame oil, chickpeas, potatoes and onion.

b) Breads

For breads, there are: Armenian roll (choerag), Armenian roll (eggless choerag), flat thin layered bread (sajoostoo), flaky layered bread (paghach), tahini bread (taheen hatz), Armenian bread (pideh hatz), grandma’s Armenian bread (medz mayrigin hatz), cheese topped bread (peynirlee), pocket bread (gelor hatz), cheese turnovers (banir boerag), layered cheese filled dough (tapsi banir boerag), layered meat filled dough (tapsi meat boerag), layered cheese squares (banir boerag), lavash; a soft, thin flatbread made with wheat, flour, water, yeast, and salt, cheese boats (peynirlee), cracker bread (pahtz hatz), cracker bread shortcut (parag hatz), breadstick - like rolls (beximet), thin bread (youkha), Armenian coffee cake (katah), and Armenian coffee cake with filling (katah with koritz).

From the breads, the names of the kinds such as Armenian roll (choerag), Armenian bread (pideh hatz), cheese topped bread (peynirlee), breadstick - like rolls (beximet), thin bread (youkha), Armenian coffee cake (katah) will immediately call attention to themselves. It is stated in the sources that the Armenian cooks’ reputation is widespread in the Middle East, they are leaders of both running restaurants and home meals and they are especially famous for pastry and “basturma” (pastırma)20. 19 Müjgan Üçer, “Patlıcan ve Türk Mutfak Kültüründe Patlıcan”, Mutfak Kültürü Üzerine Araştırmalar 2000, (public. by Kamil Toygar), Türk Halk Kültürü Araştırma ve Tanıtma Vakfı; No. 28, Ankara 2001, p. 175-232.

20 Zubaıda, ibid, p. 35-38.


Also, yufka (thin bread), which is mentioned above, comes from the words “yubka, yupa, yoka” which mean thin, fragile in old Turkish21, and it’s still used by the Armenians in the US.

c) Soups

Among the soups: yogurt soup (madzoon abour), hot yogurt soup (tahnabour), yogurt celery soup (madzoon abour with celery), lentil soup (vospov abour), chick pea soup (siserr abour), meatball soup (gelor abour), meatball soup (blor kufta abour), Armenian soup (haigagan abour), chicken soup (hav abour), vegetable soup (pahnjareghen abour), and beet soup (garmeer dag (jagentegh) abour) are prepared. Yogurt soup and meatball soup call attention among the soups.

d) Meat, Fish and Fowl

There are foods such as: Hımayag’s shish kebab, Andrew’s shish kebab, losh kebab, shish kebab, lule kebab, karpet porov kufta, khabourga, kadin budu kufta, khanum budu, lahmajoon (shortcut), khema (chee kufta), mock manti, manti, tass kebab, khema, (chee kufta), khema (chee kufta), tass kebab with rice, pilaf kalajosh, kalajosh, lamb roast khavourma, patlijan (sempoog) kufta, meat boerag, yeregamoonk plaki, epvatz tsoug, hav yev pilaf, keshkeg or herisah, korvatz hav havov, sergahvel sini kufta, and khash or pacha for meat meals.

Among the meat meals, the names of the food such as shish kebab, lahmajoon (shortcut), khema (chee kufta), manti, tass kebab, losh kebab, shish kebab, lule kebab, kufta, khabourga, kadin budu kufta, khanum budu, keshkeg or herisah, patlijan (sempoog) kufta, khash or pacha call attention to themselves. It would be appropriate to emphasize keshkeg or herisah. Keshkeg is a food made of wheat that is threshed thoroughly then boiled with meat for a long time. It continues to exist in Turkey and in the Musul province of Iraq today. This food, which is derived from the word “kişk”, is eaten in the Near East as mush by mixing it with cereal, milk, or meat. However, in other places it is not cooked in the way it

21 Charles Perry, “Göçebe Türkler, Katmerli Ekmek ve Baklavanın Orta Asya’daki Kökleri”, Ortadoğu Mutfak Kültürleri, (edt: Sami Zubaıda-Richard Tapper), (trans. by Ülkün Tansel), Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, İstanbul 2000, p. 88.

is cooked in Turkey. The word “keshkeg” is not available in Armenian today. While Armenians from Armenia do not know this food, it is known by the Armenians from Turkey or the ones who emigrated from Turkey (for examples, Armenians in the US). ”Kişk” is used by today’s Lebanese-Armenians is also derived from abroad. It is also understood from its consonant palatal that it is derived from Turkish22. In the same way, herisah (cereal mush with meat), which is cooked among Turkish Armenians by threshing meat with cereal, is cooked in the same way23.

Besides these, it is striking that mantı, which has a Middle East origin, is one of the foods prepared quickly and which is frozen or dried is used as Turkish people use it24. Similarly, the word “khavourma” is used as the original version “kavurma” in Turkish, not as “korma” or “korme”25 which are the versions used in Indian kitchen. It is important that the pronunciation of pacha, among the meat foods, is written as “paça” as Turkish people use it, not like “bâce” or “baçe” which is the pronunciation in Iran or Iraq26. This is one situation where Armenians have been influenced by Turkish people.

e) Meats with Fruits and Vegetables

Food such as: stuffed baked eggplant, (karni yarek/letsvadz sempoog), stuffed eggplant, (karni yarek/letsvadz sempoog), mashed eggplant with meat (patlijan/sempoog hunkar bayendi), eggplant with lamb (patlijan/sempoog kebab), eggplant and hamburger casserole (patlijan/sempoog

22 Bkz. Françoıse Aubaıle-Sallenave, “El-Kişk: Geçmişiyle, Bugünüyle Karmaşık Bir Yemek”, Ortadoğu Mutfak Kültürleri, (edt: Sami Zubaıda-Richard Tapper), (trans. by Ülkün Tansel), Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, İstanbul 2000, p. 105, 125.
23 Aubaıle-Sallenave, ibid, p. 102.
24 Mantı ile ilgili bkz. Holly Chase, “Meyhane mi McDonald’s mı? İstanbul’da Ayak Üstü Yemeğin Evrimi”, Ortadoğu Mutfak Kültürleri, (edt: Sami Zubaıda-Richard Tapper), (trans. by Ülkün Tansel), Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, İstanbul 2000, p. 79-80.
25 Sami Zubaıda-Richard Tapper, Ortadoğu Mutfak Kültürleri, (edt: Sami Zubaıda-Richard Tapper), (trans. by Ülkün Tansel), Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, İstanbul 2000, p. 11.
26 Peter Heıne, “Modern Arap Yemek Kitaplarında Geleneksel Mutfağa Dönüş”, Ortadoğu Mutfak Kültürleri, (edt: Sami Zubaıda-Richard Tapper), (trans. by Ülkün Tansel), Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, İstanbul 2000, p. 148.



tava), baked stuffed apricots (dzerani dolma/letsvadz), baked eggplant and meatball casserole (patlijan/sempoog tava kebab), eggplant with ground meat (patlijan/sempoog geragoor), lamb stew (meesov geragoor), eggplant, cheese, and ground meat casserole (meesov patlijan/sempooc banir tava), zucchini with meat sauce (meesov tutum), stuffed vegetables (dolma/letsvadz), stuffed vegetables (dolma/letsvadz), stuffed cabbage (lahana dolma/letsvadz gaghambd), okra with meat sauce (meesov bamiya), hamburger and potato casserole (khema yev kednakhnzor poorri), baked okra casserole (meesov bamiya tapsi), stuffed artichokes (enguinar), celery stew (kereviz geragoor), green bean stew (fassoulia/lupia geragoor), and vegetable meat dish (turlu) are eaten.

Firstly, stuffed baked eggplant, (karni yarek/letsvadz sempoog), mashed eggplant with meat (patlijan/sempoog hunkar bayendi), eggplant with lamb (patlijan/sempoog kebab), eggplant and hamburg casserole (patlijan/sempoog tava), baked stuffed apricots (dzerani dolma/letsvadz), baked eggplant and meatball casserole (patlijan/sempoog tava kebab), stuffed vegetables (dolma/letsvadz), stuffed vegetables (dolma/letsvadz), stuffed cabbage (lahana dolma/letsvadz gaghambd), okra with meat sauce (meesov bamiya), baked okra casserole (meesov bamiya tapsi), stuffed artichokes (enguinar) call attention to themselves. Mashed eggplant with meat (patlijan/sempoog hunkar bayendi), is one of the leading foods of the Ottoman palace. In Armenian food culture stuffed grape leaves are cooked as in Turkish and Near East societies.

f) Rice

It’s seen that rice such as classic Armenian rice (prinzov pilaf), cracked wheat side dish (bulghur pilaf ), rice with sautéed onions (sokherantz pilaf ), peasant rice (davaji bulghur pilaf ), white rice (jermag pilaf ), and cold bulghur rice (bagh bulghur pilaf ) are eaten. In fact, rice is a product which is grown with difficult way in the Middle East. For this reason, it’s natural that cracked wheat side dish has more kinds than classic rice. It is also striking that instead of the Arabic “burgul”, Armenians use “bulgur” for the pronunciation as it is in Turkish27.

27 Sami Zubaıda, “Ortadoğu Mutfak Kültüründe Pirinç”, Ortadoğu Mutfak Kültürleri, (edt: Sami Zubaıda-Richard Tapper), (trans. by Ülkün Tansel), Tarih Vakfı


g) Vegetarian Foods

The menu of the Armenians from the US has foods such as: peanut butter stuffed wheat ball (baki kufta), bulghur with eggs and tomatoes (havgitov kufta), cheese stuffed eggplant (patlijan banir dolma /sempoog banir letsvadz), chick peas (siserr), lentil dish (vospov khema), lentils with apricots (mushosh), lentil dish (vospov pilaf ), zucchini pie (tutumov boerag), baked dough with yogurt (serim), flaky cheese pastry (sou-boerag), baked cheese and spinach with filo (spanagh boerag), baked spinach-cheese with filo (spanagh-banir boerag), cheese, spinach, and noodle casserole (banir, spanagh, yev yerishta), baked spinach and eggs (havgitov spanach).

The names of foods such as baked cheese and spinach with filo (spanagh boerag), spinach, flaky cheese pastry (sou-boerag) are striking. It’s strongly possible that baked dough with yogurt (serim) which is prepared by pouring yogurt over the paste cooked in the oven is the same as the one which is pronounced as “serum” or “seron” in our country.

h) Vegetables

The foods which are cooked without meat are: cold eggplant casserole (imam bayeldi/sempoog), fried eggplant (dabcadz patlijan/sempoog), okra (bamiya), tasty eggplant (hamov patlijan/sempoog), leek stew (prassa), artichokes (enguinar), squash (tutumov geragoor), baked zucchini (tutum boerag), zucchini fritters (dabgadz tutum), spinach with rice (spanagh geragoor/aghsk), cabbage (lahana (gaghamb), fried cauliflower (dabgadz karnabede), mixed vegetable dish (turlu), peas and tomato dish (behzalya geragoor), and baked potato squares (tapsiov kednakhnzor poohri).

From these, the names of cold eggplant casserole (imam bayeldi/sempoog), okra (bamiya), leek stew (prassa), artichokes (enguinar), cabbage (lahana (gaghamb), mixed vegetable dish (turlu), peas and tomato dish (behzalya geragoor) are easily understood.

i) Salads

There are: dried beans (fassoulia (lupia) plaki), bean salad (fassoulia (lupia) salata), white kidney bean salad (fassoulia (lupia) piaz), cracked Yurt Yayınları, İstanbul 2000, p. 90.


wheat salad (tabouleh), string bean salad (fassoulia salata/lupia aghtzan), tomato salad (marash salata/aghtzan), eggplant salad (patlijan salata/sempoog aghtzan), and Armenian potato salad (kednakhnzor salata/aghtzan) among the salads. From these, dried beans (fassoulia (lupia) plaki), bean salad (fassoulia (lupia) salata), white kidney bean salad (fassoulia (lupia) piaz), and eggplant salad (patlijan salata/ sempoog aghtzan) attract attention.

j) Desserts

Among desserts there are ones such as: baklava (paklava/tertanush), baklava circles (paklava gelorigs), rolled filo with nut filling (burma), shredded wheat/khadayif (ekmek kadayif ), tahini roll (tahinov burma), cheese puffs (dabgadz banirov khumor), shredded dough (kadayif ), cake-like dessert with sugar syrup (mock paklava), stewed dried fruits (anoushabour), shredded wheat dessert with syrup and nuts (mock kadayif), rice flour pudding (muhallabi), royal Armenian pudding (haigagan anousheghen), a traditional new year pudding (anushabur), fried dough balls (tukalik), cold apricot soup (dzirani abur), rice or wheat pudding (gatnabour), fried dough (mafish), butter cookie (kurabia), fried dough (mafish), butter cookies (kurabia), date crescents (armav mahig), nut filled cookie (mamoul), sesame butter cookie (susam anoush), Armenian stick cookie (simit), Armenian cookie (haigagan anoush), nut filled cookie (lady fingers), almond cookie (noush khumoreghen), cognac cake (pargoghee gargantag), walnut crescents (ungouyz mahig), date delight (armav anoush), apricots sweets (dzerani anoush), chocolate cake (chocolat gargantag), apple pocket (khundsor boerag), farina cake (farina gargantag), yogurt cake (madzoon gargantag), and coconut cake (huntk ungouyzi gargantag), yogurt cake (madzoon gargantag), coconut cake (huntk ungouyzi gargantag) sweets are made.

From these, the desserts such as baklava (paklava/tertanush), rolled filo with nut filling (burma), khadayif (ekmek kadayif ), butter cookie (kurabia), butter cookies (kurabia), Armenian stick cookie (simit) call attention to themselves. It is appropriate to talk about baklava. In fact, both Greek and Turkish people can’t cook bakery bread since they haven’t got a bakery; however, they bake breads with a variety of thickness by


putting the one-layered thin bread baked on a sheet iron one on top of the other28.

CONCLUSION

Among all of the foods that we have counted the following are ones that are still important foods existing in the Turkish kitchen and influencing the Armenian kitchen: stuffed grape leaves, pickles, pickled swiss chard, pickled green peppers stuffed with chopped vegetables, cured spiced meat Armenian spiced dried sausages, and eggplant with tahini (baba ghanoush-patlijan (sempoog) meza) from the appetizers, roll (choerag), bread (pideh hatz), cheese topped bread (peynirlee), breadstick - like rolls (beximet), thin bread (youkha), and coffee cake (katah) from the breads, yogurt soup, and meatball soup from the soups, shish kebab, lahmajoon (shortcut), khema (chee kufta), manti, tass kebab, losh kebab, shish kebab, lule kebab, kufta, khabourga, kadin budu kufta, khanum budu, keshkeg or herisah, and patlijan (sempoog) kufta, khash or pacha from the meat dishes, stuffed baked eggplant, (karni yarek/letsvadz sempoog), mashed eggplant with meat (patlijan/sempoog hunkar bayendi), eggplant with lamb (patlijan/sempoog kebab), eggplant and hamburger casserole (patlijan/sempoog tava), baked stuffed apricots (dzerani dolma/letsvadz), baked eggplant and meatball casserole (patlijan/sempoog tava kebab), stuffed vegetables (dolma/letsvadz), stuffed vegetables (dolma/letsvadz), stuffed cabbage (lahana dolma/letsvadz gaghambd), okra with meat sauce (meesov bamiya), baked okra casserole (meesov bamiya tapsi), stuffed artichokes (enguinar), cold eggplant casserole (imam bayeldi/sempoog), okra (bamiya), leek stew (prassa), artichokes (enguinar), baked cheese and spinach with filo (spanagh boerag), spinach, flaky cheese pastry (sou-boerag), cabbage (lahana (gaghamb), mixed vegetable dish (turlu), and peas and tomato dish (behzalya geragoor) from vegetables.

Besides these, classic rice (prinzov pilaf ), cracked wheat side dish (bulghur pilaf ), dried beans (fassoulia (lupia) plaki), bean salad (fassoulia (lupia) salata), white kidney bean salad (fassoulia (lupia) piaz), and eggplant salad (patlijan salata/ sempoog aghtzan), desserts such as baklava (paklava/tertanush), rolled filo with nut filling (burma), khadayif

28 Perry, ibid, p. 86-87.


(ekmek kadayif ), butter cookie (kurabia), butter cookies (kurabia), and
Armenian stick cookies (simit) are still cooked and eaten in Turkey today.

We can see the list form of these food names below.
Table 1: Food Names

Kind Of Food-OriginalTurkishName-ArmenianName-EnglishName

Appetizers: Babaganuş-Baba ghanoush-patlijan(sempoog)meza
Çörek Choerag, Roll
Pide Pideh Hatz,
Peynirli Peynirlee,
Peksimet Beximet,
Yufka Youkha
Kete Katah
Yoğurtlu çorba Yogurt soup
Lahmacun Lahmajoon
Çiğ köfte Khema (Chee Kufta),
Mantı Manti,


Bread
Cheese topped bread
Breadstick - like rolls
Thin bread
Coffee cake
Shortcut

Meat
Tas kebap
Loş kebab
Şiş kebap
Lüle kebap
Köfte
Kaburga
Kadınbudu köfte
Kadınbudu
Keşkek or Herise
Patlıcan köfte
Paça
Karnıyarık
Hünkar beyendi
Patlıcan kebap
Patlıcan kebap
Patlıcan kebap
Tass Kebab,
Losh Kebab,
Shish Kebab,
Lule Kebab,
Kufta,
Khabourga,
Kadin Budu Kufta,
Khanum Budu,
Keshkeg Or Herisah,
Patlijan (Sempoog) Kufta,
Khash Or Pacha
Karni Yarek/Letsvadz Sempoog),
Patlijan/Sempoog Hunkar Bayendi,
Patlijan/Sempoog Kebab,
Patlijan/sempoog tava,
Patlijan/sempoog tava kebab,
Stuffed baked eggplant
Mashed eggplant with meat
Eggplant with lamb
Eggplant and hamburger casserole
Meatball casserole

Vegetables
Dolma
Lahana dolma
Bamya
Bamya tepsi
İmam bayıldı
Bamya
Pırasa
Enginar
Ispanaklı börek
Su böreği
Lahana
Türlü
Bezelye
Dolma/Letsvadz,
Lahana Dolma/Letsvadz Gaghambd),
Meesov bamiya,
Meesov bamiya tapsi,
Imam Bayeldi/Sempoog,
Bamiya,
Prassa,
Enguinar,
Spanagh boerag, Spinach,
Sou-Boerag,
Lahana (gaghamb),
Turlu,
Behzalya geragoor
Stuffed vegetables
Stuffed Cabbage
Okra with meat sauce
Baked okra casserole
Stuffed artichokes
Cold eggplant casserole
Okra
Leek stew
Artichokes
Baked cheese and spinach with filo
Flaky cheese pastry
Cabbage
Mixed vegetable dish
Peas and tomato dish

Rice
Pirinç pilavı
Bulgur pilavı
Fasulye pilaki
Fasulye piyaz
Patlıcan salatası
Prinzov pilaf
Bulghur pilaf
Fassoulia (lupia) plak
Fassoulia (lupia) piaz
Patlijan salata/ sempoog aghtzan
Classic rice
Cracked wheat side dish
Bean salad
White kidney bean salad
Eggplant salad

Desserts
Baklava
Burma
Ekmek kadayıfı
Kurabiye
Simit
Paklava/Tertanush
Burma
Khadayif (Ekmek Kadayif)
Kurabia
Armenian stick cookies
Rolled filo with nut filling
Butter cookie
Simit


Kitchen utensils such as tava (frying pan), sini (round metal tray) and tray are still used among Armenians and with Turkish people, and this situation is a natural consequence of two societies’ living together for a long time. It is important that this food culture shows that it is a common consequence.

As a result, we can say that Armenians in the Ottoman Empire didn’t lead separate lives from Turkish people until the second half of the 19th century, and even then they were a culture has commonalities with Turkish culture and civilization more so than with any other non-Muslim cultures. This unity was so deep that the “Armenian Problem” is seen as an artificial matter which rose from provocation by Western States. In reality, it can be easily said that if the political worries could be left out, social and cultural conditions lead the two societies closer together by the presence of pre-existing cultural values.

For the sake of clearly showing the deep affects in both cultures and how they influenced each other, this quatrain written by Aşık (Bard) Emir (d. 1882) who is of Armenian extraction is quite meaningful29.

“Din ayrı, möhkem gardaşıg,
Senin bahtına benzerik,
Gol bir, el bir eliyek, birlikte dağık (dağız),
Ayrılıgda, nazik bir goluk (kuluz)”.

The exact translation of the poem will cause the loss of sense. For this reason we prefer to explain the meaning of the poem instead of is translation. The poem emphasizes that even though two nations have got different religious beliefs, they have got a strong relation with each other.

29 Fikret Türkmen, Türk Halk Edebiyatının Ermeni Kültürüne Tesiri, Akademi Kitabevi yayını, İzmir 1992, p. 32-33.

REFERENCES
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