Authentic Turkish coffee is coming to Toronto as part of an initiative to promote tourism in Turkey, which has been wracked by terrorist attacks in recent weeks.
Pegged as a “volunteer-led cultural diplomacy project,” the Mobile Turkish Coffee Truck will make several stops in the city between March 30 and April 3. It’s the first Canadian stopover for the truck, which has visited several cities in the U.S. and Europe since 2012.
Toronto stops include Ripley’s Aquarium, Nathan Phillips Square, Queen’s Park, Dundas Square, University of Toronto, Kensington Market and the Beaches Easter parade.
Turkish coffee is one of the best ways to introduce Turkish culture and Turkish hospitality to Torontonians, says Derya Acar, attaché to the Turkish Consulate General and the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in Toronto.
“This is a project we believe will truly resonate with Canadians and coffee-lovers alike,” Acar says.
Turkey has faced several recent terrorist attacks including a blast in Istanbul last Saturday that killed five people and a car bomb six days earlier in Ankara that killed 38.
However, Acar insists “Turkey is a safe country” and is no different than other countries around the world that have faced terrorism.
“Istanbul is no less safe than Paris or Brussels,” she says, adding that security in the country has been tightened.
Acar says Turkey is the sixth most visited country in the world, with about 37 million visitors last year, 200,000 of whom were from Canada, which offers direct flights from Montreal and Toronto to Istanbul.
However, The Guardian reported that summer holiday bookings to Turkey are down by 50% compared with last year.
“No country is immune from the threat of terrorism,” Acar says. “We should not let terrorists take hostage the human to human, culture to culture contacts among our people, among our countries.”
The Turkish coffee truck tour sports the slogan “Turkish Coffee: The Taste of Friendship for 500 years.”
It’s supported by donations from Turkey’s oldest coffee ground seller, Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, which is supplying the coffee for the truck.
Acar says Turkish coffee plays a central role in Turkish culture. The coffee has been designated an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, while a famous Turkish saying goes “a cup of coffee brings a friendship for 40 years.”
Guests to the truck will be encouraged to share their experience by using the hashtag #TurkishCoffeeTO.
Acar says visits to other Canadian cities are being considered.
Charming Media is handling public relations for the campaign.