New Turkish-Syrian Cookbook Shares the Spice of Life

New Turkish-Syrian Cookbook Shares the Spice of Life.

Ankara -- IOM Turkey is launching “Baharat” – a collection of Turkish and Syrian recipes inspired by IOM Turkey’s Protection and Psychosocial Programme’s socio-cultural activities. The cookbook is available digitally and in print in three languages: English, Turkish and Arabic. It features 12 recipes that are unique to both Turkish and Syrian cuisine, along with commentaries from Syrian and Turkish participants.

The Baharat cookbook comes just a few months before the 10th anniversary of the start of the Syrian crisis. For the past ten years, Turkey has opened its doors to nearly four million Syrian refugees and migrants. Their integration into Turkish communities across the country has required adaptation and understanding from both the Syrians and their Turkish hosts.

IOM designed a programme of cooking activities as a way for Turkish and Syrian women to join together in the same kitchen and share their recipes. It then became an opportunity for them to learn about each other and their cultures.

“Baharat” is an Arabic word adopted into Turkish that refers to spice: “an ingredient added to food or drink to enhance flavour”. This word was the inspiration for the cooking activities organized by IOM and the production of the cookbook. Just as adding different “Baharat” to the pot enhances the flavour of our dishes, the mixing of people from different backgrounds and cultures enriches countries and local communities.

Hiyam Alsahme, a 36-year-old housewife from Raqqa in Syria, moved to Turkey with her family when the war started. “We sit with our Turkish friends and discuss the differences and similarities between our dishes,” she explained. Through taking part in IOM’s cooking activity, Hiyam was able to bond with her Turkish neighbors. “When I was cooking, I never used to ask for help,” she said, “but now I call my Turkish neighbor to help me in the kitchen and we enjoy cooking together.”

IOM’s Chief of Mission in Turkey, Lado Gvilava, highlights the important role successful integration of migrants and refugees plays in fostering social cohesion in society. “Our programmes provide spaces and activities that make this possible. The kitchen has always been a place where people can gather in good and bad times. Food plays a key role in bringing humanity together to mingle and better understand, embrace and appreciate each other. This cookbook also comes at a time when much of the world has started 2021 in continued lockdown due to the COVID-19 crisis. We hope ‘Baharat’ will inspire those who have rediscovered the joy of cooking during these difficult times.”

Visit the cookbook at to browse the recipes, read the participants’ stories, and learn more about IOM’s work.

For more information please contact Lanna Walsh, IOM Turkey, Email: