Gyro Wars: Greece and Türkiye Battle for Culinary Dominance

pita gyros

In the realm of European cuisine, the Turkish döner kebab has emerged as a beloved street food. Now, a contentious battle is brewing within the EU's special protection label scheme, as Türkiye seeks to safeguard its claim to the döner name.

The genesis of the döner lies in Greece, where it was introduced during a population exchange between Türkiye and Greece in 1922. The Greeks embraced the savory delicacy, dubbing it "gyro."

Türkiye's application seeks to bestow exclusive usage of the "döner" moniker upon producers who adhere to specific production methods. This protection would encompass large slabs of horizontally sliced beef or lamb, labeled as "yaprak döner."

However, Greece casts doubt on Türkiye's culinary dominance, asserting that the döner's true birthplace lies within its own borders. The Greek term "gyro" has become synonymous with the dish, raising questions about the validity of Türkiye's claim.

The EU's food speciality label typically grants legal protection to products with a strong geographical connection. Since the döner cooking technique lacks a specific geographical origin, it does not qualify for the same level of protection as regional specialties like Neapolitan pizza or Parma ham.

Despite this obstacle, Türkiye's application has drawn criticism from Greece. Within the EU's consultation phase, which lasts for three months, Greece may challenge Türkiye's registration on intellectual property grounds.


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