The European Union agency responsible for trademarks accepted A request from Turkey to register the term “Turkaegean.” – Turkish Aegean – as brand name. The EU decision is unacceptable against Greece and it raises questions about what Greek authorities did or not to prevent such a move.
The EU Intellectual Property Commission (EUIPO) granted the trademark in December 2021 to the Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency and thus until July 2031.
The EUIPO accepted without any objection the Turkish request to indirectly appropriate the Aegean Sea (and) through an advertising campaign, patenting “Turkaegean” for tourism purposes.
In a document posted on EUTM, a European trademark office, it appears that the term has been accepted since December 15, 2021, with an expiration date of July 16, 2031.
.Greece noticed the registration when Greek daily naftemporiki revealed the issue on June 24, 2022.
Turkaegean – what’s in the term?
According to the Turkish Tourism Agency, “Turkaegean” is the “coast of happiness”. In its promotion videos it states: “Join the Turkaegean experience in the coast of happiness! The Aegean Region of Türkiye offers you the beautiful landscapes, dazzling coastlines, immaculate beaches, pine woods and olive groves.”
USA patent office rejects application
Earlier in June, it has been revealed that the United States Patent and Trademark Office provisionally refused an application from the same Turkish agency to register the trademark in the US.
The reasons given for the provisional refusal are just errors in the application form such as that the wording in the application identifying the services offered under “Turkaegean” is indefinite, a description of the trademark was not included in the original application and the applicant’s email address was not included.
It gave the Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency six months to resubmit the application through a US-licensed attorney.
Meanwhile, a search on the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization shows that the trademark “Turkaegean” is described as “active” in five jurisdictions (Australia, Brunei, Japan, WIPO and the EU) and is “pending” in another 15 (Mongolia, Cambodia, Canada, Cuba, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Thailand and the US).
Greece gently sleeps and weeps
The issue raises serious risks as nothing rules out that Turkey would use this decision in order to continue its challenges, questioning the Greekness of the Aegean Sea.
The question, of course, that arises is whether the Greek authorities realized the Turkish challenge and whether they reacted and how for so many months, notes daily naftemporiki that also revealed the trademark registration.
Note that Turkey started promotion of the “Turkaegean” campaign already in July 2021.
Tourism authorities in Ankara stated in November 2021 that “the Aegean is also an area belonging to Turkey.” They reportedly justified the name “Turk aegean” saying that this emerged because Greece sees the Aegean as its own area only.” Aim of the campaign is that the Aegean Sea is not only Greek but also Turkish.”
From July 2021 to June 2022, every time Greek media referred to Turkaegean campaign, they described it as “provocative” and “cheeky.”
The country’s top Linguistics professor Giorgos Babiniotis described the fact that Turkey refers to the Aegean Sea as “Turkaegean” and to the Mediterranean Sea as “blue sea” in reference to Turkish expansion plan “Blue Homeland” as “international shame.” He made special reference to the Greekness of the term “Ege” the Turkish language have used for the Aegean ever since they arrived in the area and recalled that in the 16. and 17. centuries Turks used the term “the sea of Greeks.”
He warned of the dangers of “Turkaegean” in the context of Erdogan’s revisionist plans.
If I’m not wrong there were efforts in Turkey to replace the word “Ege” into a more Turkish one.
Anyway, yesterday, Sunday, Greeks started a hashtag “Aegean-Archipelago” on Twitter where they posted pictures and comments proving the Greekness of the Aegean Sea as well as of the word “Aegean” in any language.
Some of the funny posts:
Turkish fleet in the #Aegean_Archipelago
But the leadership of the country, and especially the government spokesman, who usually jumps up 24/7 to comment on every word and comma main opposition party SYRIZA said or did not said, is apparently still sleeping and …weeping.
PS The Beatles … always a source of inspiration….