MILAN ACCEPT STARBUCKS? 736 496 Aylin Satun Olsun

I was in Milan this weekend.

Unquestionably, one of the cities I have been to most and traveled dozens of times in Europe over the years.

This time I think the 20 degrees of temperature, with the advantage of bright air, is more active and energetic than ever. Maybe after the dark and miserable debates of Turkey’s agenda, it was motivating to hear the topics here.

As Turks, we are tended to try, implement and adopt new changes and varieties immediately when we see. On the other hand, Italians behave in a more restrained way against different cultural habits. For example, an Italian is not very willing to work abroad and be a colleague of other Europeans. In fact, not only the country, the town they live in, even the house does not leave them easily. When they go abroad, they insist that they can not do without an Italian restaurant, espresso and Italian wine. Again, you will not find fast food chains or coffee chains in Italy.

Here’s where the fun begins. Currently, there are two important issues in Milan. Starbucks is opening its first Italian branch in the city very soon.

I feel like I hear you say: “Is not there any Starbucks in Italy?” In fact, Starbucks, where is the signature place of the white-collared Turks, was not present in Italy. Not just Starbucks, but any other foreign coffee chains too, but… Very soon, the situation will change in Milano. It doesn’t just come here and open a branch. They have became the sponsors of 42 palm and banana trees which placed in two parallel planting rows right in the middle of the Duomo square, where the Duomo Cathedral is located, the city’s most important destination. Italians are puzzled! On the one hand, Starbucks’s opening in Italy and the planting of the trees, which can not be accepted locally on the square that hosts the 500-year-old history of Italy’s largest cathedral comes after the Vatican, brought a serious debate. In the evenings they discuss this in debate programs, newspaper circles, or plainly cafe conversations. Some say that the palms are not suitable for the city’s climate; some say palm trees also were there in the 1800s and also they have planted the appropriate type of the tree, moreover, this innovative design has attracted tourists, and consequently, the endorsements of the nearby cafés have increased in a short time. As I said, this debate does not end; because it will take time to accept this change for Italians who are fond of their traditions and habits. Whereas, we are proudly concreting the design of the Karaköy square to attain it a modern look, at the expense of the demolished historical symbols of the buildings.

The other day, I discussed the concept of conservatism with a friend of mine. Turkey is called conservative. Wrong… Turkey is becoming ignorant. If we were conservative, we would not want to change our values, our culture, our habits. On the contrary, we would reserve our heritage and hold it tight, wouldn’t we?

Milan is the commercial capital of Italy. The heart of economy and fashion is there; but it’s still more gloomy than other cities. In recent years, the atmosphere was even calmer following the economic stagnation in Europe. When I went this time, I found it more alive. New buildings were built, the squares were full of tourists. I learned that unfortunately after the Expo, which we lost our bid to host it in Izmir, there has been a serious increase in tourism. So, Milan has attracted much more tourists than Rome for the last two years and even this information is incredible alone. Although I did not have much opportunity to travel in Milan on this trip, I still managed to try two pleasant cafe-restaurants. One of the “in” venues is the Aperol Terrace, you can get the terrace via big Rinascenta Store in the Duomo Square. It is a popular venue and drinking cocktails with a scenery of the cathedral and square is a pleasant activity. On the other hand, looking at the average age of incoming customers, my age group may feel a little old.

In this short trip, I realized how we were closing ourselves in our country, how we dramatically differentiated our subjects and our lives in our country within a year, even if we go abroad on breaks. In the meantime, airplanes coming from Istanbul are taken to a separate area, and the passengers are searched for a second time and entered the country. I think these are because of our country’s increasing prestige and image(!)

I wish happy days that we discuss our Turkish coffee, yoghurt and Bosphorus instead of terror, violence, referendum and radicalism in our country.

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