This is how a business meeting or friendly encounter starts in the Turkish tradition. Especially a cup of Turkish coffee, prepared with or withoutsugar and served with lokum (Turkish delight) is the main facilitator offrank and creative conversation.
As a student and international relations professional, I have enjoyed taking part in the think tank events in many European, American and Asian cities. In Brussels, where I have been spending the essential part of my professional life since 2005, the rich think tank environment has always been inspiring and refreshing for me.
The Turkish Coffee Briefings is the fruit of this experience. It aims to add an unambitious new formula: just a short coffee break transformedto an opportunity of exchange of views; a relaxed moment of professionaland friendly conversation in a small group around an actual topic of European and international agenda.
Then comes the basic question:
– How sweet do you like your coffee?
Turkish Coffee Briefings is a roundtable debate club in Brussels. The sessions are introduced by a guest speaker, followed by 45 minutes of exchange of views by participants. Turkish coffee and delights are served. The topics are selected in relation with the current European social, political and economic agenda. Each session may be followed by a short report summarizing the debate points based on the Chatham House rules.The purpose is to create an intellectual framework of debate from a selected group of participants, structured in a way to enable open discussion and stimulate new ideas.
The Turkish Coffee Briefings aims to add a new formula Brussels’ rich think tank environment:
– just a short coffee break transformed to an opportunity of exchange of views;
– a relaxed moment of professional and friendly conversation in a small group around an actual topic of European and international agenda.
In our first meeting, the topic was Turkish Foreign Policy and Europe
We were honoured to have with us as guest speaker Mr Faruk Logoglu, Vice-President of the CHP ( Turkish social democratic / main opposition party) and former Turkish Ambassador to Washington.
It was very nice to listen this fruitful exchange of views with moderation of Georgy Gotev, Senior Editor of Euractiv. The participants were from European Parliament, European External Action Service, European Commission, business and civic society.
The Philosophy Behind The Turkish Coffee Briefings
According to the Turkish tradition, it is customary for the host to serve Turkish coffee to guests as soon as they arrive, as a gesture of hospitality. As parties start sipping their coffee from traditional demitasse cups, they also engage in a short pep talk to “melt the ice” which spurs on the main conversation. Therefore a cup of Turkish coffee is an important part of daily social and business life in Turkey as stated in the following proverb:
“A cup of coffee will not be forgotten for 40 years”…
The intent of the Turkish Coffee Briefings is to carry that tradition over to our roundtable discussions in Brussels. Since the Turkish coffee is inherent in the social customs in showing respect to each other, intrinsic in interpersonal relations of people as the icebreaker and it is an expression of hospitality, we want to apply the same principles to our intellectual debates.
Founder of the Turkish Coffee Briefings