Greece takes aim at EU support for ‘Turkegean’ slogan – POLITICO

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ATHENS — A new row is brewing between Athens and Ankara over the EU’s endorsement of the term « Turcegean » branding for Turkish tourism campaigns.

The slogan, initially registered by the from the EU the Intellectual Property Office in December 2021, triggered a belated reaction from key Greek politicians.

Greek European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas has sent a strong letter to Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton demanding a review of the decision, Greek media reported on Thursday.

Territorial sovereignty in the Aegean has been a contentious issue between Greece and Turkey, whose summer economies depend heavily on an influx of tourists from across Europe to the sandy beaches and azure waters of the Aegean.

Turkey’s Deputy Tourism Minister Nadir Alpaslan said in a November interview that Greece « has made the world see the Aegean as its own region.

« We will do this even more strongly next year and show that the Aegean Sea is not a region of Greece, but also a region of Turkey, a tourist brand. »

Wider tensions have escalated in recent months between Athens and Ankara, who have long been at odds over a number of other bilateral disputes, including maritime borders and overlapping claims to their continental shelves.

In his letter to Breton, first reported by the Greek news agency ANA, Schinas expressed his disappointment that « EUIPO’s internal checks and procedures have not proven sufficient to identify and notify a case with obvious and potentially serious implications for the external relations of the EU, the sovereign rights of an EU Member State – Greece – but also for the protection of consumers and of the EU tourism sector.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis attends a service at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul | Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images

He added that the case marked « a clear failure at the administrative level to properly assess the political and legal dimensions of such a decision ».

In Madrid on Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: « We have a legal arsenal at our disposal to correct what happened, which concerns the tourist image of the country, which concerns our tourist product. »

Greek Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis on Thursday apologized for his ministry’s lack of response, said he was unaware of Turkey’s request and ordered an investigation.

Turkey has already launched a “Turkeagean Coast of Happiness” tourism campaign.

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