Turks and Greeks; common words, proverbs, idioms.

Istanbul born Greek-Turkish writer Herkul Milas, compiled 4700 common words and 1275 proverb Turks and Greeks use in his book ‘Türkçe Yunanca Ortak Kelimeler, Deyimler ve Atasözleri

When we talk about similarities between Turkish and Greek cultures, many may naturally think this would be a result of Greece being part of Turkey for four to five centuries. However, Turks and Greeks lived together for nearly a thousand years as there was a massive Greek population in the Anatolian mainland. This population was first reduced as a result of the population exchange agreement signed between Greece and Turkey resulted in the uprooting of all Greeks in modern Turkey (and Turks in Greece) from where many of them had lived for centuries after World War I. The remaining Greeks were mostly living in Istanbul and unfortunately they were forced to move after the anti-Greek pogrom in Istanbul in 1955.

Turks and Greeks share many common traits; physical features, emotional reactions, cuisine, customs, traditions, drinks, city names and words. Herkul Milas’ book explains that the similarities between national characters are reflected in the use of common proverbs and idioms.

Greek names among Turkish names on a monument dedicated to soldiers who fought for Ottoman Empire

Greek names among Turkish names on a monument dedicated to soldiers who fought for Ottoman Empire

Herkul Milas included an “Ebru” picture on the cover of his book. The writer explains in the preface of the book that, he sees Greek – Turkish affinity as the affinity between motifs in Ebru art. Multiculturalism is often explained as different cultures living together in mosaic format however Herkul Milas believes in case of Ottomans, the different cultures lived together integrated within each other unlike the pieces in mosaic where each piece is on its own but connected on the sides.

A PDF version of the book can be found here.

You can also find an extended list of common Turkish and Greek words here.

Some food names (TUR-GREEK)

acem pilavı –  acem pilafi
alkol – alkooli
ançüez – ançuya
baharat – bahariko
baklava – baklavas
bamya – bamya
barbunya – barbuni
biber – piperi / piperya
poğaça – bugaça
bulgur – bliguri
cigaralık – cigariliki
çeri (kiraz içkisi) – seri
çipura – çipura
çörek – çüreki
defne – dafni
domates – domata
ekmek kadayıfı – ekmek kadaifi
fasulye – fasoli
fesleğen- vasilikos
fıstık – pistakio
hamsi – hamsi
helva – halvas
ıspanak – spanaki
istavrit – stavridi
istiridye – stridi
kahve – kafes
kalamar – kalamari
karides – garida
katmer – katimeri
kefal – kefalos

akasya – akakia
aralık – aralıki
âşık – asikis
açelya – azalea
bahar – bahari
buğlama – bulamas
fellah – felahos
kanaviçe – kanavaço
kanun – kanonaki
ağustos – avgustos
defter – tefteri
gazete – gazeta
Kur’an – korani
makyaj -makiyaz
nostalji – nostalyia


Promoter, fighter, actor – Tarik Solak

Born in Ankara and migrating to Australia in 1969 as a 5 year old, Tarik Solak grew up in the Brunswick, Melbourne, with Turkish immigrant parents and a large family.

The code was that street gangs were in control, fights were customary and Turkish kids had to stick together. There was racism, they didn’t fit anywhere. With almost no education opportunities provided, very few Turkish teens who grew up in this area managed to get out successfully. Most shifted into assembly plants, got married and had children. Others fell into prison or drug addiction.

The unmerciful life in Brunswick motivated Tarik to keep striving. For self-protection, Tarik started practicing very early with the Taekwondo (an Olympic discipline). After four years of practice he obtained his black belt. Then he discovered the Kick-boxing in the 80ies, rapidly, he decided to promote this discipline through events and gatherings.

Tarik Solak

He organized his first event in the former Night-club of Billboard, to which more than 1700 persons attended. His concept opposes Australian fighters against Turkish fighters, such as: Tibet Hamza, Gerald Ilhan, Recep Saka and Gurkan Ozkan. In 1994, Solak became the first promoter to organize a real show at the Melbourne Festival. An audience of 4000 watched Gurkan Ozkan and Tibet Hamza pick up their first world titles in Kick-boxing.

In 1999, Tarik met Graham Burke in Japan with the K-1 master Ishii and his manager Ken Imai. These men, very important in their industries, signed an agreement: Tarik Solak was to be in charge of the organization of the K-1 tournament in Oceania. On the same year, a new fists and feet boxing star appeared: Mark Hunt. One year later, the Greek Mike Zambidis became a K-1 star. Mark Hunt won in 2001, and also 2002.

Having organized several events in 90s and 2000s, Tarik became the biggest promoter in Oceania region as well as being a worldwide promoter organizing tournaments with big names around the globe. The shows feature lightly dressed dancers, and superfighters from various parts of the world (even Mongolia or Senegal.) He has negotiated the broadcasting rights with heavy-weight TV channels, such as Pay TV and Fox sport.

Tarik Solak is not only a businessman; sharing his passion with others is what he really wants.

In 2006, Tarik Solak moved to Turkey to shoot a TV-Series with Turkish cinema legend Osman Sinav who has directed legendary TV Series such as Deli Yurek and Kurtlar Vadisi.

The new show’s name was “Pusat” (meaning “Armor” in Turkish) featuring Turkish-German actor Haluk Piyes as a young boxer from the traditional Anatolian city of Sivas, battling his way in life with his beloved ones and young boxer friends through match-fixing mafia, corrupted sports organizers. Tarik Solak starred as “Arif”, a boxing trainer with a big heart who retired from the mafia life.

The TV series became a phenomenon, as the actors were very natural (thanks to Tarik’s kickboxing resume). Tarik’s co-star Haluk Piyes had also trained as a boxer in Germany for the same reason as Tarik had trained to be a boxer in his teenage years in Australia and even became the German U19 champion before becoming an actor.

Tarik recently organised a well-known kickboxing tournament in Docklands, Melbourne with the controversial Australian businessman Mick Gatto.

Update 2020

Tarik Solak passed away at the young age of 56, after battling cancer. He has left behind a legacy.


Auburn’s friendliest Turkish deli: Arzum Market

You can experience an old world deli like you remember from your youth at Arzum Market.

Arif and his family members will treat you or your family like one of their own at Arzum.

Auburn’s friendliest Turkish deli: Arzum Market

You can either browse the packed shelves whilst navigating the narrow aisles or directly approach Mr. Arif’s team and tell them what you need. They would happily bring whatever you are after for you. If you have any questions about the product or the brand, they would also make recommendations while bringing your items.

Narrow aisles with packed shelves await you inside Arzum Market.

If you are unsure about the feta, the dessert or the dried nuts, just ask Mr. Arif. He would help you choose better by letting you sample the goods. The chunky feta cheese, delicious aegean olives or home-made desserts will just melt in your mouth. Your senses will love the distinctive old-time aroma that reminds you of “the smell of deli.”

People come from all over Sydney for authentic Turkish specialties.



You can find Turkish spices, bulgur, rice, Turkish jams, Turkish tea, Turkish coffee as well as Bosnian goods.

Tea and coffee machines, Turkish soccer jerseys, flags, home accessories as well as Turkish board games are also available.

If you are lucky, you will also find some home-grown tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables Arzum Market sources from their own network.

Although Arzum Market has a narrow entry it is surprisingly very deep.

Tea and coffee machines, Turkish soccer jerseys, flags, home accessories as well as Turkish board games are also available.


There is a dedicated car park just behind Arzum Market.

You’ll love the friendly service and delicious food at Arzum Market.


Arzum Market is on 61 Rawson Street, Auburn NSW 2144


Phone: (02) 9649 9327


The largest Turkish supermarket in Sydney

Gima supermarket in Sydney has long been the primary meeting point for those who want to live the Turkish supermarket experience.


Like other supermarket chains, the Auburn store has it’s own customer parking and unless you visit on a public holiday, you can always find parking space.


You can find a diverse variety of Turkish soft drinks including gazoz, ayran and fruit juice types. You can also explore their rich range of Turkish dairy products including sheep, goat and cow milk feta cheeses, aged cheese or other regional cheeses like haloumi or tulum as well as various Turkish yoghurt brands and other dairy products like cream.


You can find bread types from different parts of Turkey. Apart from the so-called “Turkish bread” you may find in other stores, here you will find the real Turkish bread Turkish folk normally would consume. Try the healthy Trabzon bread, or why not have your next breakfast with the sesame covered Turkish bagel “simit”? You may also indulge in scrumptious pastries called “pogaca”.


The supermarket also offers a diverse range of frozen food section which hosts hard-to-find products like Turkish anchovies (hamsi) or Albanian style liver (Arnavut ciger) as well as homemade kofte, manti and borek varieties.


It is important to note, that there is a halal butchery inside the supermarket which means you can also find halal meat and poultry as well as cured meats.


Finally if you are after popular Turkish cookies biscuits, snacks, rice, bulgur, kuru-yemish (dry fruits), desserts types, marinated and fresh olives, as well as non-food stuff for your home, you will find them all at the Gima Supermarket.


It is fair to say you can find pretty much anything you are after that is Turkish, or from the Ottoman diaspora (including middle-eastern or Balkan).


Gima Markets & Gifts
31-35 Queen Street, Auburn NSW 2144
(02) 9749 4588 ‎


Hours: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm


Transit: Auburn Railway Station (325 m N) North Shore & Western