ATHENS – Surprised to suddenly discover that the European Union approved Turkey’s request for a “Turkaegean” trademark covering its coast near Greek islands, Greece’s New Democray government wants to find out how that happened.
Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis was unaware for six months, before the news that Turkey got the trademark, that it was even on the table and ordered an inquiry into why he was left out of the loop, said Kathimerini.
He wants to know why he wasn’t informed in advance by officials about Turkey’s successful effort to register the term “Turkaegean” with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) the paper said.
EUIPO granted the trademark in December, 2021 to the Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency. It will remain valid until July 2031. Ankara has coined the term “Turkaegean” in a tourism campaign to describe the “coast of happiness,” although it’s within sight of Greek islands.
The ministry said the issue was never reported to Georgiadis, or the ministry by officials in the country’s national trademark office or on secondment to the EUIPO, so it could “take timely and appropriate political, diplomatic and official action” to try to stop it.
The probe will seek to any wrongdoing on behalf of employees at the former trademark directorate of the General Secretariat of Commerce of the Ministry of Development and Investment, the ministry added, which would leave Georgiadis blameless despite overseeing them.
Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said Greece will be taking recourse against the EUIPO decision to approve Turkey’s application without saying what that would be because it’s fait accompli and after the fact.
The approval put Greece in an embarrassing position as the height of the summer tourism season looms, and both countries trying to lure more visitors to offset the economic hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.
European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas – from New Democracy – sent a letter to Internal Markets Commissioner Thierry Breton demanding a review of the decision giving the Turkaegean trademark.
In charge of Promoting the European Way of Life – as well as migrants that Greece wants to keep out – he expressed his “intense disappointment” at the decision letting Turkey use the term for a new tourism campaign.
Schinas warned of the “serious consequences” stemming from the decision, while ripping EUIPO for failing to adequately publicize the request and its decision, the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) reported.
He demanded, “In the future such decisions with a potential impact on our strategic interests not be taken without political consultation,” according to the AMNA although that puts him in a potential conflict of interest in promoting Greece while he’s supposed to be impartial.