For this week’s Meal of the Week, I share a delicious little snack I enjoyed on a Turkish Airlines flight from Ercan (ECN) in occupied Northern Cyprus to Istanbul (IST) in 2011. The snack has a deeper political meaning as well…
I mention “occupied Northern Cyprus” because it plays into the meal served. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a self-declared state. In 1974, Greece attempted to annex Cyprus. In response to the perceived threat of the island’s Turkish population, Turkey invaded and has since occupied the northern part of the island. Greeks were expelled from the North and Turks expelled from the South.
Turkey is the only nation that recognizes the “sovereignty” of Northern Cyprus, but simultaneously maintains a heavy military presence. Most nations view Turkey as an occupying power. Turkish flags fly alongside the flag of Northern Cyprus throughout the divided capital of Nicosia. But all diplomatic overtures toward a re-unified Cyprus have failed.
I bring that up, because Turkish Airlines offers “picnic baskets” on flights from Northern Cyprus to Turkey. This is what it Turkish Airlines serves only on domestic flights. Thus, the meal service represents a political statement, i.e. that Turkish Airlines considers Northern Cyprus part of its domestic network.
I connected from Istanbul to Beirut and though the flight time is nearly identical, a much more substantial meal service was offered.
The picnic basket itself was delicious, as is most food on Turkish Airlines. It included a cheese sandwich, green beans in olive oil, and “homemade” chocolate cake. And it was served in a puesdo-picnic basket.
Turkish Airlines offers excellent onboard food, even on domestic flights…or flights it would like to think are domestic…