“We have never encountered discrimination here,” Ishak Eshetu Aragaw, a spokesman of Istanbul-based Habesistan (Ethiopia) Development and Cooperation Association

By Gulsum Incekaya, Ilker Girit (Anadolu Agency) |

ISTANBUL, Turkey―Young Ethiopians who are studying and working in Turkey say they have found acceptance here, while their friends who went to Europe have faced discrimination.

“We have never encountered discrimination here,” Ishak Eshetu Aragaw, a spokesman of Istanbul-based Habesistan (Ethiopia) Development and Cooperation Association, told Anadolu Agency.

“On the contrary,” he added, “many of our friends who have gone to Europe tell us they are discriminated against.”

“They feel alienated,” he said.

The association was established by Ethiopian students in Turkey to organize humanitarian assistance programs and resolve issues they face in Turkey.

“We meet once a month, to revive our traditions, discuss our problems and help newcomers,” Aragaw said.

Another place spotlighting Ethiopian culture in Turkey is the Habesha Restaurant located in Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

● Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant

The restaurant serving Ethiopian cuisine, is managed by Can Korudağ and his Ethiopian partner Yodit Demise.

With animal photos plastered on the walls, candlelight, African table and floor seating, the restaurant has an exotic ambiance.

The waiters and the chefs are all African and they know the cultural nuances and the stories of the meals they serve.

Their specialty is the injera bread made of small wheat grain.

“Ethiopian cuisine is a good option for Turks who love hot and spicy food,” said Korudağ.

Singers and dance groups from Africa also perform at the restaurant on weekends.

Ahmed Muhammed, another Ethiopian who decided to stay in Turkey after graduating from university, said: “We can practice our religion at will.”

He said many of his friends, left for Europe after graduating from Turkish universities, but he would never want to leave Turkey.

“They earn well. But money is not the be-all and end-all of life. I live in a Muslim country with my family comfortably. That’s enough for me,” he said.

Continue reading this story at Anadolu Agency
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One Response

  1. Yodit

    Ethiopia is one of the country both Muslims and Christians live together in peace. In Ethiopia there is no one religion or political order imposed on the other. Our history also proves that Ethiopia have diversified religious groups. And I am sure that including my self most Ethiopians are happy about our diversification.

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