Swedish meatball admission: They're Turkish

Swedish meatball admission: They're Turkish
Swedish meatball admission: They're Turkish
Image copyright Getty Images

Swedish meatballs, the national dish of Sweden, have been revealed to have originated from another country - Turkey.

A post on Sweden.Se, the nation's official Twitter account, on Saturday told followers: "Swedish meatballs are actually based on a recipe King Charles XII brought home from Turkey in the early 18th century. Let's stick to the facts!".

Reaction to the news has included speculation over what other foods may be Turkish, and what this may mean for Swedish furniture store Ikea, known for its meatballs.

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Many Turkish media outlets have called the tweet a "confession" and pointed out it is not the only product with which the King returned to Sweden.

Turkish Newspaper the Daily Sabah quoted Annie Mattson, a researcher at Sweden's Uppsala University, who claims the King also brought "coffee and a stuffed cabbage dish" home with him from Istanbul.

King Charles reigned from 1697 to 1718 and is said to have lived in exile within the Ottoman or Turkish Empire "after losing a war with the Russians living in Bender, Moldova for around five years".

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Some people in Turkey have made a link between meatballs and the popularity of the furniture chain Ikea in their country since the first store opened in 2005.

said: "There must have been a reason why the Turkish people embraced something from Sweden so willingly. Ikea equals meatballs for many of us".

"After this confession, would you discount the meatballs to win our hearts again?" asked


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However, Serdar Cam, president of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), has criticised Ikea's role in the selling of Turkish meatballs.

"By selling these meatballs as Swedish meatballs for years in their chain furniture store they are also saying I can even sell your meatball as if it is mine through my marketing and distribution organisation,"


Many Turkish people thanked the Swedish account for bringing the history of the meatball to their attention.

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End of Twitter post by @ObserverTurkish

But for some in Sweden, the news was, apparently, too much to take in.

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