Greece steps up efforts to end "Turkaegean" propaganda

Turkaegean Turkey trademark greece

Greece has instructed a major law firm to end efforts by Turkey to patent its “Turkaegean” propaganda trademark it is using to attract tourists from the US and the EU.

Despite Turkey’s disclaimers, the “Turkaegean” campaign is an attempt to mislead US and EU opinion regarding Ankara’s illegal claims on the Greek islands.


According to Kathimerini, the Steptoe & Johnson law firm, which specialises in so-called high-stakes litigation involving trade and border disputes, will prepare a report backing Ankara's claims at a cost of about $70,000. The Washington-based law firm’s total compensation is unknown.

Athens also labours in Brussels to reverse the EUIPO acceptance of the Turkaegean application by the Turkish Tourism Development and Promotion Agency in December 2021. Under the decision, Turkey can use the term "Turkaegean" in all its advertising campaigns, including for TV, radio, online, tourism accommodation and car rentals, and dozens of other listed services until July 16, 2031.

To reverse the decision, the Greek government and Greek deputies in the European Parliament have submitted half a dozen resolutions warning that the term both confuses potential tourists by “inextricably linking the Aegean Sea with Turkey” and challenges the sovereign rights of Greece in the Aegean Sea. European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, who is from Greece’s ruling New Democracy, sent a sharply worded letter to Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton demanding a review of the decision. “EUIPO’s internal controls and procedures have not proved sufficient to identify and notify a case with obvious and potentially serious implications for the external relations of the EU, the sovereign rights of Greece, and the protection of consumers and the EU tourism sector,” she said.

The European Commission replied that Greece had missed the deadline for objecting to the EUIPO but could make an invalidity request to annul it, which Athens did.

“We have had a small victory as the EUIPO accepted our request for an invalidity petition, and the litigation process has started,” Greek Infrastructure and Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis said.

Athens regards a positive development in the US Patent and Trade Office in February and asked for more details in order to stop the patent process. In any case, a final ruling probably won’t be issued until 2025.

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