Beltud marks its presence on the 'Winter Wonders'

Before the first snow falls and the cold wind rises in Belgium, the visitors of the annual winter market - held in the city centre of Brussels - can warm up by making a walk along the wooden chalets. This year the organizers of Winter Wonders put strong emphasis on the presence of different cultures, including the Turkish one. Tourists can forget the freezing cold in the ‘Oriental Corner' while drinking a hot Turkish tea or a traditional Turkish coffee. The association for Belgian-Turkish Friendship and Dialogue (Beltud) accepted the invitation of the organizing committee to join the 11th edition of the event. Six chalets in Turkish style welcome the many visitors on a trip to the East.

The annual winter market is housed in Brussels on the Grand-Place, around the Bourse, on the Place Sainte-Catherine and on the Vismet from 30 November 2012 till 6 January 2013 and attracts about 1,5 million visitors every year. Young and old can enjoy the many attractions including different artistic light installations, the Ferris Wheel and the icerink. Hundreds of chalets offer a wide range of products: gifts, decoration, winter clothing and several delicacies like Belgian fries, fritters, chocolate milk and also Turkish tea. By managing the Turkish chalets – which are present for the first time on this market – the association for Belgian-Turkish Friendship and Dialogue wants to build bridges between the Belgian and Turkish culture. In which they succeed: visitors come together in the cozy ‘Oriental Corner' and get to know each other while sipping their Turkish drinks. In the winter coldness warm friendships are born and strengthened.

Beltud creates a pleasant atmosphere by serving Turkish tea and coffee. In other chalets the-guests can taste Turkish specialties like köfte (minced lamb meatballs with herbs), gözleme (handmade and hand-rolled pastry), lahmacun, (is a thin dough baked with a topping of meat, tomato and herbs) sarma (grape, cabbage or chard leaves rolled around a filling usually based on minced meat) and mercimek çorbasi (lentil soup). The visitors don't mind to wait in line for the hot gözleme and the chalet with Turkish desserts is also very popular.

The president of Beltud Seval Kayman said to be very satisfied with the big interest for the Turkish chalets. ‘It is the first time that Turkey is represented on this winter market. Before Greece and Morocco were guests of honor. The offer of the organizers this year, was really a unique chance for Turkey. With dozens of volunteers including Belgian volunteers, we've taken this chance as association to present our activities to a large public. A lot of people come by and talk to us about their trips to Turkey.'

The Belgian Nasrettin Hoca

The Major of Brussels Freddy Thielemans was – as every year - present at the official inauguration ceremony and he didn't let the volunteers of Beltud, who invited the major personally, down. He warmed up with Turkish coffee and tasted some Turkish delights (lokum) which were served by the Belgian Nasrettin Hoca (Didier), one of the volunteers. Another special guest was Joëlle Milquet, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Equal opportunity. The minister drank Turkish tea and tasted the delicious meals sarma and köfte and could not decline the served Turkish delights eather. Milquet is acknowledged with the activities of Beltud and was very pleased to see that the association was present at the Winter Wonders. ‘It's very good that you're here. It's a unique opportunity to share your activities with a large crowd. Protocol and politics are important but what really counts is to spend time with people and this is a special occasion to do so.', she said to the president of Beltud. The minister also had a conversation with the Belgian Nasrettin Hoca (Didier) and asked him about the activities of the volunteers.
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