The expat community in Turkey and Turks abroad have mobilized this month to continue connecting and creating on digital platforms. From cooking classes, therapy and trivia nights to hacking solutions to COVID-19, there are many ways to continue socializing from afar and even thriving online in Turkey.
Check out some of the latest event series that have popped up in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, that will enable you to learn and share despite social distancing.
Tackle Turkish cuisine with the ‘Virtual Turkish Gastronomy Series’
The American Turkish Association of Washington, D.C. (ATA-DC) has spearheaded a “Virtual Turkish Gastronomy Series,” which is an educational culinary diplomacy campaign intending to showcase Turkish cuisine through a virtual format for those in lockdown.
Founded in 1965, ATA-DC is the most well-known Turkish cultural organization in the U.S. It regularly hosts activities like Turkish language classes, Sunday school for Turkish American children, movie nights and religious and national holiday celebrations as well as an annual Turkish Festival in the U.S. capital. All activities are geared toward introducing the Turkish culture to the local community and help Turkish Americans preserve their heritage in the U.S.
The “Virtual Turkish Gastronomy Series,” will feature well-known Turkish culinary arts figures, who will lead workshops on Turkish food and their cultural heritage, throughout the country. The series began Sunday with a live cooking demo and a question and answer session by award-winning cookbook author and blogger Özlem Warren of Ozlem’s Turkish Table. The next workshop called “Traditional Turkish Pide Making with Barbara Aydan Dario” will take place this Sunday, April 26.
On Saturday, there will be a conversation with the chef and founder of the Cercis Murat Mansion in Mardin Ebru Baybara Demir on food sustainability. The host of “Feast Delight,” – the first Turkish cooking class to air on America’s PBS television channel – Müge Karsli will do a live cooking demonstration on Saturday, May 9.
On Sunday, May 10, renowned Turkish cookbook author Sahrap Soysal will teach viewers how to prepare the UNESCO-listed Turkish specialty “Keşkek.” All free viewings will take place at 1 p.m. EST (8 p.m. in Turkey) and will be accessible via Zoom. Registration and further details can be found on www.turkishgastronomy.org.
Yabangee comforts expat community with multiple ways to socialize
Yabangee, which is a voluntary website and community geared to informing foreigners in Istanbul of ongoings in the city as well as doling advice, also hosts several event series that is widely popular amongst the expat community. Luckily, they have continued to host events catering to the lockdown.
On Tuesday, April 21, Yabangee’s monthly Trivia Night will resume for the 33rd time with a special “Social Distancing Edition,” held from home on Zoom and WhatsApp. The rules of the quiz starting at 7 p.m. will remain the same. There will be a maximum of six members to a team and the questions will be read aloud in English and Turkish.
Then on Wednesday, April 22, Yabangee’s new “Social Distancing Movie Night” event series, promoting social solidarity, while ensuring physical distancing, will resume for the fifth time since COVID-19 surfaced. In this now regular event series, participants watch a selected film, which can range from Turkish films to documentaries and participate in a live chat.
The fun will continue on Thursday with a digital dinner party hosted by Yabangee. With the title “Good Old Fashioned Dinner Party,” this online event is bound to be entertaining. Taking place from the comfort of your own home, it will be bringing together foodies and newly inspired cooks of the expat community who will prepare a meal for themselves to enjoy with others online starting at 8 p.m.
Then, on Monday, April 27, Yabangee will resume their popular talk series “Expat Spotlight.” The series features members of the expat community every month as guest speakers who discuss their contributions to Turkey in a variety of spheres. Held in conjunction with and usually at ATÖLYE, which is an interdisciplinary creativity platform for co-working and events located Istanbul’s bomontiada – an entertainment complex located in the former historical Bomonti beer factory. This special edition, which is also the 29th in the series, will be taking place online and will focus on the theme “Well Being.” The event starts at 7 p.m. and will take place on Zoom in English and will be moderated by Jennifer Hattam.
Meanwhile, on Mondays Yabangee has also been offering an English-language support group led by Istanbul-based clinical psychologist Julia Özdemir who will be available online to answer questions and to discuss strategies to best overcome these complex times.
ATÖLYE has also been hosting several virtual events and starting this Friday, will take part in the “#EUvsVirus” Pan-European Hackathon. For three consecutive days, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Turkey time participants will discuss innovative solutions to handle the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, April 28, ATÖLYE will be hosting a webinar on Zoom that will be a “Facilitation Meetup,” a gathering of individuals online to discuss creative and practical solutions to the complex problems of the world. Taking place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., this event series will now be held fortnightly.