December 1, 2023


 it was one confectionery I did not like when I was younger but over the years I have come to really have a taste for Turkish Delight

Do you remember Fry’s Turkish Delight?  there was a really nice advertisement on British TV for this product.  At the time it was one confectionery I did not like when I was younger but over the years I have come to really have a taste for Turkish Delight, not the chocolate covered variety but the real thing.

 I visited Murat Yumurtacioğlu at his shop in Girne to find out about his very successful business.  He told me that it is a family business which has been operating for 33 years through 3 generations and they produce their own Turkish Delight at their factory in Lefkoşa.  

 Murat was born in Lefkoşa in 1974 and graduated from the Near East University in English language and literature.  He said I probably wondered why he did not pursue this as a career and said that it was more profitable to join the family business but his knowledge of English has been a great asset for him.  His grandfather used to sell eggs and I realised that this reflects in the family name.  Murat has visited the UK twice, once when he was 6 years old when he went to London and again when he was 16 years old when he went to Peterborough to visit an uncle, at this time Murat and his brother went to the UK for 3 months with their father who insisted they were separated, his brother going to King’s Lynn, the object of this was that their father wanted them to improve their English and in this way they had to speak the English language and not use Turkish.

 The original shop in Girne was across the road from the present one and Murat was there for 10 years, he has been at the new premises for 2 years which is a much larger area and very well stocked and laid out.  As well as the shop in Girne, there is a further one at Bellapais opposite the Monastery and two more in Lefkoşa, one opposite the Cami and one in the covered market.   Murat runs the shops in Girne and Bellapais and his brother and his wife look after the 2 shops in Lefkoşa.  Their mother is also on call in emergencies to help out if needed.   As well as Turkish Delight, all of the shops sell teas, spices, herbs, other local sweets and many other items.  The most popular flavour is Rose but there are many varieties to choose from such as lemon, orange, mint, pistachio and many more. 

At the Girne shop there is a large cellar and Murat has plans to develop this into a demonstration factory where visitors can see how Turkish Delight is made and maybe try their hand at helping to make it themselves.   This will be a major project, the unit will be required to conform to European standards and as well as Government permissions, he will also need the permission of his neighbours.  It is intended to have an entrance at the side of the shop directly into the Demonstration Factory and hopefully Murat will be in a position to put this into operation by the end of 2012, the project will cost in the region of £20,000 so as well as the necessary permissions he will need to look at the financial aspect but he is very enthusiastic about the project and of course it will be an attraction for tourism as well as the residents of the country.

I had already paid a visit to the shop in Bellapais which has a good selection of Turkish Delight plus many other of the products sold by Sweety.  There I met Dilya Tashova, who looks after this particular shop,  She is a very pleasant girl and told me she had come to Cyprus 6 months ago from Turkmenistan and is very happy here.  Of course I succumbed and bought a box of Turkish Delight to take home with me.  

 There will be more about the Sweety shops in Lefkoşa and the factory in the near future.

Since this article was published in the newspaper I have learned that Dilya is no longer at the Bellapais shop.

To read more of Sweetys click here:- Turkish Delight in Lefkosa

The Origins of Turkish Delight

By Margaret Sheard

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