Happy Maritime Day!
July 1 must be the best day to enjoy the Bosphorus when Maritime and Cabotage Day is celebrated. The tradition is by sunset all ships, sail boats, motor boats, ferries, practically anything sailing or floating line along the Bosphorus Strait, celebrate the day by whistling their sirens.
The sirens are for the Cabotage Law dated July 1, 1926, the law that is considered as the manifestation of sea sovereignty in Turkey. The date is important for Turkish maritime history as the day marks the end of an era, transferring the right of short sea shipping only to national shipping lines. In a way it was also the symbolic celebration of the abolishment of capitulations, a trading privilege given to foreign traders within the Ottoman Empire. The capitulations were already lifted in 1914 by the Committee of Union and Progress of the Ottoman Empire; and as far as the Turkish Republic is concerned, the end was by the Lausanne Treaty in 1923, but the 1926 legislation made it materialized.
Cabotage is a word of French origin, coming from “caboter,” meaning to travel by the coast. The term referred to coastal trade and transport, which encompasses the transfer of goods or passengers by sea along a coast, without crossing an ocean. It is also known as short sea shipping opposed to deep-sea shipping or intercontinental shipping. Cabotage was a concept originally used for marine transport only, but now covers aviation, railways and road transport. In marine transport cabotage laws are instituted to protect the domestic shipping industry, marine trade and transportation.
Turkey’s maritime history had its glorious days in the distant past. During the early 16th century the naval victories of Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa succeeded in turning the eastern Mediterranean practically into an Ottoman lake, securing Ottoman dominance in Middle Eastern and most North African ports from Egypt to Algeria including the ports of the Red Sea. Marine trade thrived and brought many novelties to ports of Istanbul, coffee being one of them. Coffee made its way from the port of Mocha to Istanbul and then was spread to the rest of the world as a Turkish drink, the black water Acqua Nera as the Venetians named it. Ottoman cuisine also was in a way transformed with all the spices coming from India and beyond via the trade from Indian Ocean, Red Sea and port of Alexandria. The reason why we call the Spice Market “Mısır Çarşısı,” aka Egyptian Bazaar, is because all the goodies were coming from the port of Alexandria. Actually the very reason we call corn “mısır,” after Egypt, is because it was a novelty that came from Egypt, it was initially thought to be an Egyptian grain, though it was from the Americas.
Today the name of Barbarossa lives in the Barbaros Bulvarı, the wide boulevard that heads down straight to the sea, to Barbaros Square where the Beşiktaş Municipality celebrates the Cabotage Day, ironically not to the honor of the mighty admiral, but to celebrate regaining the tiny bit of the power he gave to Turkish sailors.
Recipe of the Week: Space is scarce in most sailing boats; kitchen facilities are limited, sometimes almost equal to none. Baking is unthinkable in most cases, except for fully equipped luxury yachts. When cooking is troublesome, it is best to opt for raw food. This raw cake will make your day; its lemony tang will lift your spirits. Crush about 150 g lemon-flavored biscuits in a plastic bag, banging the bag with the back of a ladle, or a big pebble. The one of Eti Diet Lemon-bran biscuits come in 50 g packages, so 3 packs will just do fine. When all biscuits are finely crumbled mix 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil, or enough to bring the crumbles together. You may also add half a cup of desiccated coconut for extra flavor. No need to put sugar, but add a spoon or so of honey or agave syrup if you have a sweet tooth. Press the biscuit mix into the bottom of a cake tin lined with cling film. Choose a rectangular cake tin, or any other container as it fits more easily to an icebox. Chill the biscuit base to harden in an icebox or fridge. In a bowl mix 300 g lemon flavored quark (2 cups or packages) with 2 cups of plain yoghurt. Add grated zest and juice of a lemon, mix all until smooth. Whisk in a sachet of instant no-cook pudding powder or ready-cheese cake mix. Pour the mix over the biscuit mix and chill further to harden. Decorate with any fruit you can find, or just with a few very thinly sliced lemon slices.
Fork of the Week: One beautiful spot to celebrate the beauty of the sea is Martı Marina in Orhaniye near Marmaris. Compared to the buzz of ports in Bodrum, Martı Marina is tranquil and serene, a rare quality in Turkish yacht marinas. What makes the marina so special this summer is Port Frankie, the new beach club, restaurant and bar, the summer branch of Frankie in Istanbul. Chef Melih Demirel has a creative style mingling Mediterranean tastes, focuses on the freshness of ingredients; his plates are both beautiful to rival the beauty of the bay, but refreshing with clean tastes and fresh ideas. Frankie also took over all the food & beverage of Hemithea Boutique hotel at the marina, making a hotel a destination for foodies. The food focuses on local produce, fresh catch of the sea, fresh greens, vegetables and fruit available in local markets reflecting the bounty and plenty of the Mediterranean. Note that there is also live music from Thursday till Sunday at 22:00 every weekend.
Cork of the Week: A good old G&T must be the all-time favorite sunset drinks of sailors. If you cannot make it all the way to Port Frankie in Marmaris, then head for Frankie, top of The Sofa Hotel at Nişantaşı in Istanbul, just across City’s shopping mall. The bar-lounge is ideal for an after work drink overlooking the Bosphorus sunset to enjoy the most special G&T in town, with a Gin Bar stocked with house-made sugarless tonic waters, special tinctures & bitters and fresh herbs grown right at the terrace. Their special tonics come with names we (unisex), he and she, catering for all genders and tastes.