TURKISH PRODUCTS GAIN VALUE WITH GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS

BY PROFESSOR DR. YAVUZ TEKELIOĞLU
PRESIDENT OF TURKEY RESEARCH NETWORK ON LOCAL PRODUCTS AND GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS

F lorida orange, Roquefort cheese, New Zealand lamb or Gaziantep baklavası, Ezine cheese, Malatya apricot...
These all are geographical indications...
Recently, geographical indications have been on Turkey's agenda more than it has ever been. The speech of the President of the Republic of Turkey at the Turkish Patent Awards Ceremonies of 2015-2016 and the Industrial Property Law enacted in January 2017 have been the initiator of this development. Geographical Indication(s) (GI) are distinctive, Official quality signs ensuring the origin of production and production methods of the products recognised and renowned by consumers. The GI, which has a very long history, was used to indicate the origins of the durable bricks and stones used in the construction of pyramids in ancient Egypt, while it was used in ancient Greek as a quality sign of Thasos Island wines. The use of GI, just like Parmigiano Reggiano and Comté, goes back to the 13th century. Roquefort cheese, whose ''name of origin” is protected by French laws and production is meticulously controlled, has been preserved in France since 1070.
GI, which have long been regarded as merely a European phenomenon, has ceased to be a “quality guarantee sign” with the development of global trade and has become the subject of property rights. GI is now a global phenomenon. It is considered as an intellectual property right that describes a product whose quality, fame or other characteristic features originate from a particular geographical background. 
Geographical Indications (GI) has been taken under legal protection in all of the signatory countries, including Turkey, by The World Trade Organisation (WTO) established in 1995 and with Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights' (TRIPs) Agreement signed within that framework. According to the data of the ”WTO Trade Center, there are still 10,000 legally protected GIs in the world. Approximately, one-third of them (3214) rank in the European Union (EU) and 10% in developing countries.


WHAT IS A GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION ?
“A geographical indication is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin”
With a short description, GI is the name of a place that indicates a product. The product is known by this place name, it is identified and called with it. This place is usually a locality (terroir). According to the French National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO); the terroir is a system in which there
are agricultural production, the physical environment and a set of human factors. The terroir whose borders form a certain geographical area contains a unique eco-system (soil, climate) with a characteristic human community inside. The Eco-system allows the production of a product that can not be obtained elsewhere (Aydın fig, Florida orange, Antigua coffee) and the human community allows the production of an original product (Çorum leblebisi, Antep baklavası, Mersin cezeryesi) thanks to the tradition, knowledge, skill and craftsmanship developed during the historical process. Coming out of from these interactions, these products whose origin, name and reputation belong to the region where they are produced are called “local products” and local products, each of which is a geographical indication, have very strong ties with the region they are produced in. Their common characteristics are that they are typical, of high quality and unique products. Also, they have a certain triteness and reputation. For this reason, they are protected by legal regulations in many countries. The instrument of protection is Geographical Indication Registration. The organization responsible for this work in Turkey is The Turkish Patent and Trademark Office.

GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION PROTECTION TYPES
There are three types of protection in Turkish laws:
Protected Designation of Origin, PDO: All production processes related to the product that are carried out within their geographical boundaries, and products that cannot be produced elsewhere are protected with the Protected Designation of Origin” sign. These
are mostly agricultural products. Such as Malatya apricot, Finike orange, Bayramiç ''beyazı'' -a kind of peach-.
Protected Geographical Indication, (PGI): Products produced in their geographic area but whose raw material comes from another place are protected with “Protected Geographical Indication” sign. These are mostly food products requiring hand skills and mastery. Such as Çorum leblebisi and Mersin cezeryesi. They are produced in Çorum and Mersin but chickpeas and carrots used in their productions come from another geographical area.
Traditional Speciality Guaranteed,(TSG): These products do not fall under the Protected Designation of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication and they are the names that identifying the products which are originating from a traditional production method (making recipe) or traditional composition or products manufactured from traditional raw materials or supplies. The specific feature and the quality of the product are registered here. Traditional Speciality Guaranteed is not a GI. It's not the origin put under protection; it is the tradition. Traditional means that the product has a long history in the market and is a product that shows the transition between generations. This period is 30 years in the EU and Turkey.


BENEFITS OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS
GI creates added-value and employment and enables manufacturers to market their products at a premium price. Also, the price of the product increases with GI registration. The price of Pinggu peach, which received China's GI registration from the European Union on May 11, 2011, increased from 1.5 yuan to 4 yuan right after the registration and the income of the farmers in the region increased significantly.
In Italy, Tuscany olive oil prices increased by 20% after the registration on 21 March 1998. According to reports from the EU Commission, EU registreted GI are sold at 1.8 times higher prices for meat-based products, 1.79 times nd 1.29 times higher for fruits and vegetables.
In France, registered cheeses find buyers by a 55% higher rate than the others, in Italy by 74% and Spain by 36%. The price of the famous Bresse chicken raised in France, the world's only registered chicken, is 3-4 times higher than its counterparts. Also, GI, which prevents rural migration by keeping the rural population in place by creating job opportunities, is a very important source of employment. As a matter of fact, in France, where this practice is most developed, 126,000 enterprises generate products with GI registration. According to INAO data, the turnover of these products reached €27.2 billion in 2017.


GI PROTECTS PRODUCERS AND CONSUMERS AGAINST UNFAIR COMPETITION
Consumers perceive GI as an element that indicates the origin and quality of products. If these signs with the well-deserved reputation are not protected, various malicious commercial practices may be encountered. Counterfeit utilizations have a devastating impact on consumers and honest manufacturers. The most common example of this is Antigua coffee and Darjeeling tea. The production amount of the famous Antigua coffee produced in Antigua region of Guetamala is only three thousand tons while the amount of coffee sold under this name all over the world reaches 25 thousand tons. Even though famous Darjeeling tea, which is produced in the Himalayan mountains of India at an altitude of 2-3 thousand meters and called as Champagne of Teas, has an annual production amount of 10 thousand tons, the amount of tea sold under the same name reaches 40 thousand tons in the world. False use of GI are widespread also in our country. For instance, although 140-150 thousand tons of Finike oranges are produced annually, the amount of oranges entering Istanbul under the name of Finike oranges reaches 400-450 thousand tons. Finike orange producers and consumers who are deceived are the ones who suffer from this case. Ezine cheese, Erzincan Tulum cheese and Ayvalık olive oil are at the top of the other GI, about which unfair competition is intense in our country.


GI DIRECTS CONSUMERS
GI, the quality assurance of products for consumers, guides consumers by making the right choice among a large number of products that seem to have the same characteristics in the market and providing them with a wider choice. GI, which has important functions in eliminating information asymmetry in the markets by enabling consumers to make the right choices, is also a real marketing tool that facilitates entry to niche markets that are more profitable than commodity markets and develops niche products.


GI ARE REAL ACTORS OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Keeping the rural population in its place with the employment and income they create, GI are also a very important rural development tool. For example, Italy's famous GI, Parmesan, which has been preserved since the 13th century, has an annual turnover of €2.4 billion and a full 50,000 people work in the value chain. The famous French cheese Comté is also 10,000 people work in the value chain of Comté cheese produced from raw cow's milk growing on the Jura Mountains, France and organized in a very effective cooperative system. Comté, which reached 66 thousand tons of production in 2017, gives life to the Massive Jura economy where no economic activity can be made other than animal husbandry.


GI DEVELOP TOURISM AND GASTRONOMY
Today, gastronomy is among the top reasons for tourists to travel. Inter-producers competitions, festivals and fairs related to GI are one of the factors that improve tourism. The GI also contributes to the preservation of local gastronomy and traditional recipes and the development of national tourism. 

In this respect, Peru is a model country. The Peruvian cuisine blows like a storm in the world and being a chef adorns the dreams of Peruvian youth. Peruvian cuisine provides, as well as economic growth, social change in Peru, and cures poverty. To get to know this cuisine, half a million tourists attend the food festival held every year. Lima stands out as the newest and most popular gastronomic centre in Latin America. Peru awarded as one of the best culinary destinations in the world in 2015 and gained the prize thanks to the efforts of entrepreneur chefs and the support of the state for the branding of Peruvian cuisine gives very important tips for Turkey. Turkey, having enormous potential in terms of product range and culinary richness, has all the necessary conditions to become a leader in gastronomy with also its accessible geography. The two UNESCO awards we received will undoubtedly trigger this process. In 2015, Gaziantep and 2017, Hatay gained the title of registered “City of Gastronomy” by participating in “Unesco Creative Cities Network” in the category of gastronomy, which has greatly increased the demand for domestic and international tourism to our two cities. Our dazzling traditional and regional dishes, many of which are GI registered, set up a strong substructure to make Turkish gastronomy a brand. While opening up the Turkish cuisine to the world, our young chefs should destroy the perception that our cuisine only consists of doner and kebab; and with the awareness that there is a much richer culinary culture waiting to be brought to light in our country, we need to turn Turkish gastronomy into a world brand, inspired by the past, as Peruvian chefs do.


GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION ORGANIZATION
The GI system looks like a trivet. The first counterfort is registration, the second is governance, the third is the inspection. The success of the system depends on the harmonious and successful operation of these counterforts.


REGISTRATION OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION
The first stage of the system, registration, occurs when a file prepared by a group of producers on the product identified by the geographical indication, and based on a producing specification (specification-cahiers de charges) is examined by The Turkish Patent and Trademark Office and approved if it is found to be appropriate. The important thing here is that the producers must be at the beginning and in the centre of the registration process. Because it is their job producing specification. Producers should also benefit from the added value arising from the protection of the intellectual property right of their products.
The registration provides added value to the product; by preventing GI infringement, it protects producers and consumers against unfair competition, also enlightens consumers who want to know the quality of the products they consume and their specific characteristics.


GOVERNANCE OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION
GI governance is divided into 2 as national and product-level governance.
National Governance: In most of the EU countries, it is carried out by public institutions assigned for this purpose and affiliated to the Ministries of Agriculture. Implementations show that success in the GI system is derived from complete regulatory and effective governance. In this respect, France is a pacemaker country.
Numerous legal arrangements implemented in France came to an end with the establishment of “The National Institute of Origin and Quality” in 1947. This institute, which is also called as the architect of the French miracle, is a public institute responsible for GI governance under the auspices of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The institute is responsible for implementing French policies on official quality signs and on indications of origin. Headquartered in Paris, the Institute has 24 branches in eight French regions, and 250 employees. Also, their budget for 2015 was €23 million in 2015. INAO, which draws attention to its unique organizational structure and working system, is taken as an example by many countries.

Product Level GI Governance: It is carried out by GI-registered, in other words, by the registrant institution. The main mission of this institution is to rationalize the production chain and to carry out all activities for the protection and defence of the product. Within this framework, their main duties are to ensure that producers make the production in accordance with the rules of the name of the origin, (internal audit) to carry out examinations and researches about the product, to provide technical services to the producers, to follow the fraudulent and fraudulent use of the name of origin and to promote and advertise the origin name. The financing required to fulfil them is covered by product cuts and dues. There are important governance problems in Turkey. Institutions' relation with GI continues until they receive registration; unable to continue because GI governance is not recognized. The main reason for this is the legal gap that exists. Although the law specifies the rights of the registration holder arising from registration, there is no provision regarding their responsibilities. However, these responsibilities are related to GI governance and are a must for the system.
Inspection of Geographical Indication: Inspection of the products that are protected by registration ensures that these products are manufactured according to the rules defined in the manufacturing specification. What gives the whole process full legitimacy is inspections.

Sustainability in quality is only possible through supervision. For this reason, a very strict inspection network has been established in the countries adopting GI implementation, especially in the EU, and there is strict control over the registered products. Roquefort cheese production chain undergoes 400 inspections per year.


GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS IN EU
EU quality policies aim to protect and develop GI and traditional products. Therefore, Common Agricultural Policy quality policies are concentrated on the GI. In the European Union, legislation on GI and origin name protection began with the regulations 2081/1992 and 2082/1992 which were put into practice in 1992. These regulations were also followed by regulations 510/2006 and 509/2006, which give non-EU member states the right to both apply for registration and appeal against the implementations issued by the Commission. The latest regulation of the EU on the issue is Regulation 1151/2012 which was put into effect on 21 November 2012 under the title of “Quality Systems Applicable to Agricultural and Food Products”. The EU still has a total of 3214 registered GIs, 1766 in wine and 1448 in agriculture and food products.
Italy (297) takes the lead in agriculture and food products, followed by France (248), Spain (222) and Portugal (138). Greece, which ranks fifth and is one-seventh of Turkey, has a total of 107 registrations from the EU. According to a report issued by the EU Commission, the total turnover of the GI across the EU reached €55 billion in 2014, and the price of the registered geographic indications is 2.25 times higher than the unregistered ones.


GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS IN TURKEY
Turkey with its rich GI potential is one of the world's rare countries. Utilizing this unique potential with a well-functioning GI system will provide great insights into our country. The implementation started in 1995 with the regulation 555 “Decree-Law on the Protection of GI” and was replaced by the “Industrial Property Law” enacted on 10 January 2017. The second book of this law, which consists of 5 books, is titled “Geographical Indication and Traditional Speciality Name”. Turkey currently has 431 registered geographical indications.
Also, 416 submitted products have been pending registration. 155 of the registrations have “designation of origin” and 276 have “geographical indication”. In the registrations, the leading ones are agricultural products (105), followed by local dishes (93),
confectionery, bakery and pastry products (80). Carpets and rugs have 29, weaving 21, handicraft products 26, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages 17 registrations. While, in cheeses, we have 17 registrations, 3 of which are foreign, we have only seven registrations in olive oil although we are a Mediterranean country. Turkey, the world's second-largest honey producer after China, has only registered 4 kinds of honey. Turkey has 3 registration from the EU, which are for Gaziantep baklavası, Aydın figs and Malatya apricots and 15 of our products are waiting for their registration in the EU Commission.

Foreign countries also have registrations from Turkey due to the unfair competition they come across in our country. These are Scotch Whiskey (Scotland), Champagne (France), Parmesan and Grana Padano, (Italy) and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Halloumi cheese. Other international products for which applications have been made and pending registration are Gorgonzola (Italy), Cognac (France) and Zivanya (TRNC).


WHY ARE GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS SO VITAL FOR TURKEY?
Turkey, with its extraordinarily rich potential of GI, is one of the rare countries that can provide itself significant economic, social and cultural gains. Therefore, GI is vital for our country for protecting our consumers and producers against unfair competition, adding value to our products and create employment, keeping our farmers in place by preventing rural migration, for rural development and Turkish tourism, protecting our natural resources, traditional production methods and cultural heritage, for our agricultural policy being redesigned recently, for international competition, for being able to take part in the world economy which expands every day and tends to liberalize the international trade of agricultural products, to challenge the unidirectional, unhealthy agro-industrial diet imposed by globalization, which destroys small producers and finally to be able to ensure the food security of the Turkish people in a world of frequent food scandals and chaos.


BREAKING AND BASIC ORGANIZATIONS IN GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS
2015 and 2016 years are milestones in Turkey's “Geographical Indications” history which has started in 1995. These years are turning points in the process. The fact that President Erdoğan talked about GI for the first time at patent awards ceremonies and emphasizing their importance and calling on governors, mayors and chamber heads to protect and register their local values creates a real break in the process. In our country, where averagely 9 - 10 registrations have been granted annually for 20 years, these calls do not remain unanswered. Turkey has been experiencing an incredible boom in implementations and registrations since 2016. Reduction of registration costs has an important role in this. Such that, the number of applications, which was 39 in 2015, reached 93 in 2016, 246 in 2017 and 228 in 2018. The number of registrations put into practice is respectively 13 in 2016 and 111 in 2017 and 87 in 2018.
111 registrations in 2017 are the highest of 22 years of practice, and it is more than three times the number of registrations (35) of 28-nation EU in the same year. The only producer registration for 2017 belongs to Ardahan flower honey and “Ardahan Province Beekeepers Association”.
Although numerous organizations are dealing with the GI in Turkey, three of them are very important. These organizations called as the main agencies of GI are Turkish Union of Chambers and Exchange Commodities (TOBB), Local Products and Geographical Indications Turkish Research Network (YÜcİTA) and the METRO Wholesale Market. TOBB focuses on registration, YÜciTA research, METRO implementation of the subject.


TOBB MOSTLY DEALS WITH REGISTRATIONS
%79 of the registrations in 2018 belong to the Turkish Union of Chambers and Exchange Commodities, municipalities and provinces. TOBB, which had %33 share in the registrations between 1996-2016, increased its share to %41 in 2018. TOBB also organizes training and awareness-raising programs related to GI and the regional products fair annually held in Antalya supports YÖREX.


YÜCITA: VOLUNTARY RESEARCH NETWORK
YÜciTA is based on Akdeniz University Centre for Economic Research on Mediterranean Countries (1997). It was established on 15 October 2012 with the final declaration of the “3rd International Antalya Geographical Indications Seminar”.  

YÜciTA is a voluntary research network. Its mission is to establish an ideal GI system by raising awareness about the importance of the GI in Turkey, to support sustainable rural development by adding value to local products and to work on the protection of cultural and biological diversity. YÜcİTA organizes two workshops every year. These workshops include international conferences, seminars or symposiums. The research network, which carried out 10 studies just in 2018, with 13 international workshops, 11 different events in 13 different provinces in the 7-year period has 5 international publications, 4 of which is in foreign languages, and tens of national publications. YÜciTA, which publishes a quarterly newsletter, established the “Local Products and Geographical Indications Research Foundation” at the beginning of 2019.

METRO WHOLESALE MARKET
METRO, that closely deals with geographical indications and awarded by Mr President for its successful works in the field of geographical indications within the scope of 2016 patent awards, starts its first work on the issue with our registered asset Taşköprü garlic project.
Taşköprü garlic, which has been losing its value in the face of Chinese garlic competition, is being saved thanks to the works of the consortium led by METRO. METRO, which started a major promotional campaign in Istanbul and all Turkey to create awareness in the GI field in September 2016, carries its works with the support it provides to producers for registration implementations. Kapıdağ purple onion, Kırklareli curly lamb and Ayvalık olive oil are among the GI benefiting from these supports. METRO, which also exports many registered products, informs and directs its suppliers on GI and in its stores, enlightens its consumers. Supported by YÜciTA in its work on GI, METRO has recently been able to sign a protocol with the Ministry of National Education and the General Directorate of Vocational and Technical Training on 4th of March, 2019, on the inclusion of GI in the curriculum of vocational-technical schools. With this protocol, GI has been moved to a training platform for the first time in Turkey.


TURKEY WILL SWIFTLY SOLVE ITS PROBLEMS
Turkey, with its own high GI potential, is a country that can provide itself crucial insights. This can be achieved through the establishment of a well-functioning GI system, as emphasized at different times. The practices, which have lasted for nearly 25 years, show that there are huge weaknesses in GI governance and supervision, also these producers are unwillingly excluded from the system.


TO OVERCOME THESE PROBLEMS:
- The producers who are the real owners of the subject must be integrated into the process immediately and a related formula, a legal regulation or a model must be present. It is also possible that such an implementation will alleviate the intense producer disorganisation experienced in our agriculture.
- To bring the system into force, a legal regulation stating the responsibilities of the registrants arising from the registration (GI Governance) needs to be made urgently. With this regulation, not everyone will be able to get the registration.
- Public practices on external audits are far from being satisfactory. For this reason, independent, impartial and well-equipped private auditing organizations, which will carry out these audits during production, storage and sales stages, and accredited according to EU standards, should be promptly put into practice.
- Since all the problems experienced cannot be overcome with the existing system, effective institutional structuring and governance is required. Therefore, an establishment of “Turkish Institute of Geographical Indications” is required and organic agriculture needs to be included in the Institute's field of study.

SHARE