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Istanbul – the European Cultural Capital of 2010 and the Turkish cuisine capital

Chosen by the European Union as the cultural capital of 2010 since 2006, Istanbul is the first Turkish city with this statute and hopes to draw up to 10 million visitors with the 170 events the authorities have planned to organize this year. The former capital city of the Roman Empire, of the Bysantine Empire and of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul had 7.5 million tourists last year.

Founded by the Roman emperor Constantin in 330 with the name of Constantinopol, Istanbul is at present a metropolis of over 18 million inhabitants spreading on tens of kilometers around the Bosforus
Straits which separate Europe from Asia, and wishing to become a bridge between cultures, as H.E.Ayse SINIRLIOGLU , the ambassador of Turkey to Bucharest said during a meeting with the Romanian journalists. According to her excellency, such a “bridge between cultures” could rely on cuisine, identifying a series of Turkish specialties which have been transmitted to the Romanian cuisine along the centuries: “sarmale” (meat in rolled cabbage leaves), musaka, baklava, coffee, etc. Tasting the different specialties offered was an occasion to know the flavour of a cuisine which conquered so many peoples peacefully.
The fact that Turkey was offered the statute of European cultural capital in 2010 – together with Pecs ( Hungary) and Essen ( Germany) – has a political dimension which, as Turkey has started in 2005 the process of accession to the European Union. That is why this statute is an opportunity for Turkey to reassure its European roots. There is a connection between the title of European capital and the process of European accession for Turkey, at least the chance for Turkey to show itself to Europe and to show Europe to Turkey as the members of the European jury appreciated when choosing Essen ( Germany) and Pecs ( Hungary) as European capital cities for 2010 together with Istanbul – a statute allowing them to organize cultural projects and draw tourists.