Country Curiosities: Turkey, The True Center Of The World


Paolo Reyes, Staff Writer


Turkey is a country with a long cultural history spanning from even before the ancient era. From the time of the first civilizations to one of the greatest empires to rule the Mediterranean Basin, the modern Turkish nation has come to boast one of the richest historical backgrounds in the world. The cultural importance and influence of the history of Turkey has had a profound impact on the entire world. In the modern day, popular social media influencers like Salt Bae and Kaan Özdil (Angry Turkish Man) have broken their way into internet culture and established Turkey as a historical and modern cultural leader. 


Ice Cream Man

On the internet, it’s not uncommon to see a video of a tourist in Turkey being absolutely played by an ice cream man. In these videos the ice cream man expertly performs a routine of finesse and skill as he steals the ice cream away from the helpless customer, only to grant them pity in the end and give it to them. Here in the United States, it is near impossible to find an ice cream man who would perform the tricks typical of Turkish ice cream vendors. This is because the type of ice cream needed to perform such stunts is a traditional Turkish variant known as Dondurma. Unlike traditional ice cream, Dondurma is extremely elastic and resistant to melting, which enables the vendors to do their tricks. Its elasticity is in part thanks to the special ingredient incorporated into them, that being Salep, which is made from the roots of native orchards (Jaques). In addition to this, Dondurma is also made of goat milk as opposed to the milk from cattle, which may have some effect on its taste as well as consistency. 


Noel Baba

Santa Claus, the deity of Christmas and bringer of PS5s is widely known around the world as the most charitable man to ever live. To most people, his origins are traceable back to the North Pole, where he employs his terribly underpaid elves to make toys all year round. However, the truth of the reality is that he is actually based in Turkey, where the minimum wage laws force him to pay his workers about 14, or about $17, a day. Yep, that’s right. Santa Claus’ red suit isn’t allusion to the Bible, but rather to the Turkish flag to which he pledges his allegiance (that’s a joke). St. Nicholas, the real figure upon whom the legend of Santa Claus is based off of, was born in 280 A.D. in Patara, an area near Myra in Turkey ( Editors). To ruin things even more, in Antalya, Turkey under the Saint Nicholas Church, a tomb that may house the remains of the real St. Nick has been found which would prove his existence. (“Has the Original…”).


What the Fez?

The fez is arguably one of the most distinguished pieces of clothing to come out of post-Ottoman culture. Native to Morocco, this hat is a cultural reminder of the empire that preceded the Byzantines. However, the fez is actually banned in Turkey, the country from which the empire that popularized it was once based. Despite being super closely associated with Arabian culture, the fez was banned in 1925 for the sake of disassociating the newly formed Turkey from the Ottoman Empire from which it spawned (“Something you didn’t…”).

Works Cited

“Has the Original Santa Claus Been Found in Turkey?” BBC News. BBC, 04 Oct. 2017. Web. 06 May 2021. Editors. “Santa Claus.” A&E Television Networks, 16 Feb. 2010. Web. 07 May 2021.

Jaques, Monique. “Meet the DAVID BLAINES of Turkish Ice Cream.” 22 June 2016. Web. 06 May 2021.

NDTV Food Desk. “Dondurma: The Wacky Turkish Ice Cream That Defies Laws of Gravity.” NDTV Food. 15 June 2017. Web. 07 May 2021.

“Something You Didn’t Know About the Fez.” Guided Istanbul Tours – Ranked #1 on Tripadvisor. 04 June 2019. Web. 07 May 2021.