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Celebrating their Turkish-Armenian heritage

September 19, 2011 | 11:17 am

Doner

Lokma, börek and doner kebab -- they're all on the menu when members of Southern California's Turkish-Armenian community gather. Paloma Esquivel writes of one such party in Winnetka:

The occasion for this feast is Doner Night, an event sponsored by the Organization of Istanbul Armenians, a group of more than 1,000 Turkish Armenians in Southern California. Of the hundreds of thousands of Armenians in California, Turkish Armenians make up a small fraction. In addition to Armenian, they also speak Turkish, listen to Turkish music and have adopted many of the traditions of that country.

There are times, some said, when this closeness with Turkey -- those who remained in that country were sometimes discouraged from following their own traditions and culture --  has made it difficult to gain acceptance from other Armenians. But that is changing. Organizations like the one hosting this event have found ways to embrace both elements of the culture.

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Photo: Chef Sako Cicek slices thin strips of doner, made of ground beef and steak, at the event. Credit: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times.

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