Brooklyn’s extensive Turkish roots were explored in detail — with the mayor of Istanbul’s help — on April 24 as the Turkish Cultural Center held its annual Friendship Dinner at the Baku Palace in Sheepshead Bay.
A video highlighting Turkey and a traditional Turkish dinner with Sigara Boregi, stuffed Grape Leaves and Baklava greeted more than 200 guests who spent the evening chatting and listening to a musician playing the Kanun, a popular Turkish instrument played on one’s lap.
Guest speakers included Borough President Markowitz, Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) and Kings Bay Y Executive Director Leonard Petlakh, but everyone turned out to hear Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas speak about building stronger ties between the US and Turkey.
“We do not necessarily speak the same language, but we will always end up getting along and finding a way to communicate just as long as we dedicate ourselves to peace and prosperity,” he said.
Markowitz, who welcomed Topbas to Brooklyn last year — and was fined $20,000 by the city’s Conflict of Interest Board for accepting two free trips to Turkey for his wife Jamie in 2007 and 2009 — said Brooklyn is home to America’s largest Turkish-American population.