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Turks, Armenians and Ottomans
1.       si++
3785 posts
 03 Nov 2012 Sat 10:59 am


CALIFORNIA - I really was not expecting to eat the best lahmacun of my life on the western coast of the United States. (Lahmacun, a sort of thin pizza with minced meat, is prominent in Turkish cuisine.) However Jack’s Bakery, a small family restaurant in the greater Los Angeles area, went beyond all my expectations. Not only its lahmacun, but everything I tasted here were both very delicious and very “Turkish.”

When I learned more about the story of 51-year-old Jack, whose big moustache does not overshadow his big smile, I got it all. His original name is Agop, and his family is from Kilis, an ancient town in southeastern Turkey. They were one of the hundreds of thousands of Armenian families who used to live in Anatolia until they were tragically deported to Syria in 1915 - a painful episode in history that I call, and condemn, as the ethnic cleansing of Ottoman Armenians.

However, while you can take the Armenians out of Anatolia, you apparently can not take Anatolia out of them. Jack was a living proof. He was speaking to me in perfect Turkish with a barely noticeable accent and a beautifully native body language. “We always spoke Turkish at home,” he told me, remembering his days in Kuwait, where his family migrated to after some decades in Syria. “I perfected my Armenian only in school.”


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