Skip to main content

Gazoz, Turkey's eclectic national drink, recaptures its old fizz

Gazoz, a light, fizzy and delicious drink that symbolized the recklessness of Turkish youth in the post-World War II era, is making a comeback.

Sweet and refreshing, Turkish gazoz — a light, carbonated soft drink in a variety of colors and flavors — became a symbol of reckless, Westernized youth in the mid-1940s. This fizzy concoction, first produced during Ottoman times, had fallen out of favor in the late 20th century, but it is unexpectedly back. Reflecting Turkey's regional complexities through its variations, gazoz is stiff competition for anise-flavored raki and ayran (yoghurt mixed with water) in laying claim to being Turkey's true and timeless “national beverage.”

Gazoz, from the French “eau gazeuse” for sparkling water, became so popular in the 1960s and 1970s that it continues to creep into novels and films set in those bygone decades. The Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk conveyed the nation’s affection for these fruit-infused sodas in “Museum of Innocence,” a nostalgic novel on love, and exhibits replicas of the iconic Meltem bottles in the actual Museum of Innocence, “in memory of our optimism and the happy-go-lucky spirit of the day.” The filmmaker and actor Cem Yilmaz uses it as a symbol of tolerance and adolescent idealism in his 2016 movie “Gazoz for Iftar.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.