Coffee debate in US irks Turks

Monday, May 06, 2013

Famed Turkish-American MD Mehmet Oz angered Turks in US when he called

Famed Turkish-American MD Mehmet Oz angered Turks in US when he called "Turkish coffee" as "Greek coffee" on his television show

WASHINGTON - World famous Turkish-American MD Mehmet Oz calling "Turkish coffee" as "Greek coffee" on his television show stirred Turkish community in the US and a petition drive was launched calling "Dr. Oz" to be more sensitive on "Turkish coffee".

The campaign was launched by Gizem Salcigil White, the founding director of Mobile Turkish Coffee Truck, which was established to promote Turkish coffee in the US and Europe, following Dr. Oz's remarks that "Greek coffee was good for health".

Campaign titled "Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Oz, Turkish-American TV show host: Celebrate Turkish coffee culture's 500-year-old history" aims to collect at least 5,000 signatures in a week. Petition drive is available on "change.com".

On the petition, Salcigil said "As a person of Turkish heritage, I looked up to Dr. Mehmet Oz as an inspiring figure. Millions of people were exposed to Turkey and Turkish culture through Dr. Oz's television program. Turkish people proudly applaud his success and contributions to society. Last week, Dr. Oz did something odd. He promoted a super-potent coffee as a heart protecting, fountain of youth and antioxidant beverage. It was Turkish coffee, brewed in the unique Turkish way, but Dr. Oz told the world it was Greek coffee. The properties of coffee were first observed in Ethiopia by herders who watched their goats become very active after eating the beans. Coffee beans were brought to Istanbul in 1517 from Yemen and then brewed and served in a unique way that has been a fundamental part of Turkish culture and heritage ever since. Since the 1600s, Turkish coffee has been an indispensable part of the Turkish hospitality and society. The world's first coffee house opened in Istanbul in 1555 in Tahtakale. Soon after, Turks spread coffee culture to Europe and eventually the Americas. These coffee houses played an important role in the process of the East influencing the West".

She added "Turks, of course, were not the only people who enjoy Turkish coffee. Turks share many other food tastes with our Greek brothers and sisters, including baklava and yogurt. This special drink was even called "Turkish Coffee" in Greece until the 1980's when the relationship between the two countries became strained. This type of coffee is still widely known and appreciated as "Turkish Coffee" throughout the region and the world."

Salcigil called on Dr. Oz "to celebrate Turkish coffee culture along with all other coffee cultures and educate his viewers more about this wonderful beverage".

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