The importance of geographical indication in gastronomy tourism: Turkey

The importance of geographical indication in gastronomy tourism: Turkey

Seydi Yıkmış1* and Arzu Ünal1

1*Istanbul Gelişim University, Istanbul Gelişim Vocational School, Culinary Program, Istanbul-Turkey

1Istanbul Gelişim University, Istanbul Gelişim Vocational School, Tourist Guiding Program, Istanbul-Turkey

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed/E-Mail:

Received: Oct 2016 / Accepted:  Oct2016/ Published: Dec 2016

ABSTRACT: Geographical indication can shortly be described as the protection of a local product or value with certain regulations. Geographical indications are divided into two categories called ‘’ origin name’’ and ‘’ geographical indication’’. Origin name, expresses a region, area or country which points out an local product or food that are made in an accurately determined geography in terms of production, operation and preparation including the natural and human factors caused by a region, location or in some exceptional cases by a country of which quality and characteristic features are totally or mainly the geographical borders are determined. Geographical indication is the sign that determines the product manufactured within the borders of a region, area or location determined with production, operation or at least one of the other operations beside being a product integrated to a region, area or location with its certain quality, fame or other features caused by a region, area or location of which borders are determined. In order to introduce the local products in Turkey both national and international (local products, local flavors, local production conditions, preserving the local production methods etc.), the importance of the patent product (the product belonging to a certain area certificated by official institutions) is high. Thus, it is thought that using the geographical indicated products for introducing and also preparation of the products derived from local products in Turkey could be beneficial. In this study, it is mentioned about the importance of the geographical indication for the local products to become widely known.

Keywords: Local Products, Geographical indication, Origin name, Turkey


The rapid growth trend in the world, especially the economic interests of the developed countries, which get the foreign exchange earnings from the tourism sector has provided the developing countries get the tourism sector to the agenda. The main reason is to take a greater share of world tourism revenue. Rapid population growth which is one of the main problems of developing countries will benefit from the development of the tourism sector. Another effect of the tourism sector is the contribution to the country’s image. Demand for the country goods will increase thanks to the image provided. In other words, the country’s image emerged after the international tourism activity will be an important element of the marketing in terms of services and goods [Bozkurt et al., 1991]. In recent years, local products sector has been shown as increasingly growing sector in food consumption all over the world and particularly in Europe [Tekelioğlu et al., 2008; Wirth, 2005].

Most of the local products in Turkey are cultural products that have gained regional characteristic, belonged to a particular region and they are influenced by the region’s agricultural conditions, climate conditions, economic and social conditions. Local products which have a historical depth and form an important part of local culture have a very strong bond with the region where they are produced [Tekelioğlu et al., 2008]. Local products are also continuing their existence in their place. Nowadays, many local products need to be global. The concept of ‘’glocalization’’ is based on the ideas of ‘’Think globally act locally’’ or ‘’Think locally act globally’’. It accepts and integrates globalization and localization simultaneously. Local products are glogal products underlying the concept of glocalization. Robertson highlights the heterogeneous aspect of globalization with the term glocalization. Globalization is a process which works with the intertwinement of the global with the local and it houses the discovery of the locality inside [Yurdakul et al., 2004]. In the world, many products are known by the name of the region where the products are produced. It is known by that regions name and marketed. Traditional products are the economic values which appear in the end of a production process and as a result of an economic activity. Traditional products reflect the products of the people who live in that area and custom, tradition and culture as well as it is described as economic values. However, their reputation and qualifications come from the natural conditions specific to the region and the techniques, methods, skills, information which were developed by the people who produce that products in that area for a long time [Candir, 2010].

The tourism sector that has an important contribution to the economies of countries has begun to go towards the promotion of cultural and traditional values and at this point geographical indication protection system has begun to take form [Kan et al., 2008]. Turkey which has an important food production potential has a rich texture in terms of production and local food diversity [Demirbaş et al., 2006]. Geographical markings are the best way in order to enhance this rich local products’ contribution to the gastronomy tourism.



Geographical indications are industrial property rights which represent a region and they identify the product that originates from a specific area or they are attributable to the geographical source in terms of reputation or other characteristic features [Dimara et al., 2004; Kan et al., 2008; Ertan, A., 2010; Giray et al., 2012; Özkaya et al., 2013]. The emergence of the concept of geographical indication is uncertain. The concept of geographical indication is used by identifying or labeling the geography that adds functionality to the product. At the same time, trading the spices and similar exotic products reveals the products and the connection between their geographical origins. Thus, the trade has been initiated under the marks that indicate the geographical origin [Gökovalı, 2007].  Geographical indications was presented for the first time in the late 19th century and the first application took place in France at the beginning of the 20th century [Suratno, 2004].   The first attempt made in Turkey about registration dates back to the 19th century [Şahin, 2013]. It is important to protect the geographical indications because they offer protection to consumers and manufacturers, increase marketing opportunities, guarantee the quality of products and increase the economic contribution [Gökovalı, 2007; Agrawal et al., 1999; Tanrıkulu, 2007]. One of the significant aspects of geographical indication is that is seemed as a concept that promotes local movements against globalization as a means of rural development and its meaning that it hosts [Gülçubuk et al., 2010; Rodrigo et al., 2016].



Geographical indications are the indications which show a product identified with location, area, region or country in terms of a distinctive feature, reputation or other features. In other words, they are indications which show the source of the product [Çalışkan et al., 2012].

The designation of origin; it is a region designated geographical boundaries, area, region, or in exceptional cases it is a product resulting from the country or substantially all of the qualities and characteristics of the product are derived from area or region-specific nature and human factors.

The origin indication is mentioned if a product results from the area or region which is designated by the geographical boundaries and if a product identified with the area or region in terms of a distinctive feature, reputation or other characteristics.

Pistachio baklava, Hereke silk carpet, while they are examples of the protected geographical product names, Phoenician orange, Malatya apricots also are examples of protected products with the name of origin [TPE, 2016].



a.        Applicaton petition

b.        Registration required any logo of origin or geographical indication. If available, 15 copies (8×8) * the original document evidencing the payment of the application fee.

c.        Product definition and if necessary, technical information and documentation which explain the physical, chemical, microbiological and other similar features of raw material.

d.       Information regarding the production techniques and if available local special manufacturing techniques and conditions.

e.        Information / documents, maps that define and determine the geographical boundaries of the region or area.

f.         Mark requested on the registration of the product and information about if it has the characteristic of designation of origin or geographical indication.

g.        Registered designation of origin and usage of the geographical indication of origin, marking.

h.       Detailed explanation of marking and labeling method [Kan, 2011].



Geographical indications are one of the intellectual and industrial property rights. Unlike other property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs), it protects not only one manufacturer but also all the manufacturers who produce in qualifying conditions [Babcock et al., 2004]

Use of Registered Geographical Mark ‘Decree No. 555 entitled m.17 / 2 c.2. For usage of the geographical indication; it contains the provision that production of the product, processing or at least one of the other processes must be made in the place specified in the register area or geographic boundaries. Also it contains the provision that products are required the qualifications like reputation, quality which mentioned in the registration of the product, and other features. Parallel with this provision, according to the EU regulation No. 510/2006, 2.1.b provision. The Decree Law takes place in a geographical indication that corresponds to the definition of the concept of product, production and/or processing and/or preparation. The preparation process should be made within the specified geographical area.

Registration of geographical indication does not provide the monopoly right as opposed to other industrial property rights. Registration owner guarantee a control method which carries the characteristics of a specific geographical area and therefore the quality would be guaranteed. When considered from this aspect, for registration of geographical indications it can be said that the most suitable structures are the organizations which created by the manufacturers.


In figure 4, it is shown that only 4 of the geographical indications registered in Turkey was appealed by producer organizations.


Figure 4. Registration owners of Geographical Indications in Turkey, Source: TPE, 2016


The geographical indications registered for the sake of principle of territoriality refer to provision in the country where they are registered. Therefore, the geographical indications registered in Turkey are protected only within the borders of Turkey.

In order to protect geographical indications in other countries, the registration application must be made depending on regulatory of the country which is desired to obtain protection. In addition, it is possible to provide protection to geographical indications according to the bilateral or multilateral agreements among countries.

Under Decree No. 555 for geographical indications originating from a foreign country, the application for registration can be made. As an additional condition, in its country of geographical indications in question must be registered. In addition, applications must come from countries that provide equal protection from Turkey. [TPE, 2016].



It can be said that the extent of geographical indications has great importance as the geographical position of Turkey, expansion of rural areas and having plenty of cultural and local richness (Şentürk, 2011; Şahin, 2013). Every province and area in Turkey is identified with products that grown depending on climatic and geographical features of the province or area (Akın, 2006).

As seen in Figure 1, before TPE, there have been 179 registered indications including 77 origin name and 102 protected geographical indication since the end of September 2014. Three of these registrations are of foreign origin. As of the same year, the application process of 203 geographical registrations still continues [Belletti et al., 2015].

Figure I. Type of Geographical Indication Registrations (from 30.09.2014) Percentage [TPE, 2016]

The large part of registered geographical indications in Turkey consists of food and agriculture products. The rate of these two products within the registered products is 73 %.

Figure 2. The Distribution of Registered Geographical Indications based on product groups


Awareness regarding the geographical indications registered in Turkey in recent years has greatly increased, in 2013, received 90 applications and 14 applications have been registered. Registered in Turkey and the increase in number of references shown in Figure 3. [TPE, 2016].


Figure 3. Distribution by Year Geographical Indications Applications and Registrations in Turkey, [TPE, 2016]


In all EU countries, in order to obtain a geographical indication protection, on quality for food and agricultural products regulation, dated 21.11.2012, numbered1151/2012 are required to be applied in accordance with the provisions. The EU Parliament and the EU Council must make an application to the EU Commission in accordance with the provisions of the regulation.

In accordance with regulation No. 1151/2012, group composed of producers can make an application of the geographical reference mark regardless of the legal formation and composition. If the geographical indication which is referenced in the EU belongs to one of the EU member states, it will be subject to the national review process in its own country. After this process, it is forwarded to the European Commission by the official institutions of the member nation. The EU Commission makes the examination within 6 months after receiving the application and reports any deficiencies to the applicant and requests to complete.

Applications which are accepted at the end of the review are announced in the EU Official Journal. If there is not any objection about the application within 3 months or if the objection was examined and resulted favorable. Then applications will be registered.

Protected Designation of Origin with it is abbreviation “PDO”, and Protected Geographical Indication with abbreviation of “PGI” have been registered and used by EU Commission.   In our country, Traditional Specialties Guaranteed with abbreviation of TSG do not have a system of legal protection yet. On the other hand in the EU No. 1151/2012 protection is provided in accordance with the statutes. These phrases that take place on the label of the geographic product, are written in the official language of the Member State. Registered geographical indications emblems in EU is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 Registered Geographical Indications in EU and Emblems Relating to the Protection of the Names of Traditional Products

For the geographical indications originated from non-EU third country, after obtaining protection in their own country, they can apply to the EU for the registration. In this context, Turkey’s first geographical indication from the EU is reference to the “Antep Baklava”. It is registered in 21.12.2013, and it was recorded as Protected Geographical Indication /PGI on the EU’s geographical indications for food and agricultural products database that is called as DOOR. At the same time, applications for Aydin Figs, Afyon Sausage, Afyon bacon and Malatya apricots are at the review stage by the EU Commission. By 2012, there are 1923 wine, 326 high alcohol contained drinks, 1078 food and agricultural products registered geographical indications. 184 applications in foodstuffs are currently being reviewed, and 14% of them have been made by third world countries [TPE, 2016].



Gastronomy tourism is defined as experiencing destination-specific local food and drinks, discovering new foods and drinks, tasting special food and drink, seeing preparation of different dishes, and eating from the hands of the famous chef, visiting a special restaurant and wine cellar, or at least behaving with this purpose in the section of the trip [Can et al., 2012].

Today, for tourism movements, cultural and traditional values have become important. Accordingly, tourist preferences have become change the direction to the destinations with the local values. This concept of the protection of local tourism values has come to the fore in this tourism activity. Tourism practices which have respect for nature and cultural values and highlight the conservation has gained importance because negative effects of mass tourism have increased on the natural environment [Sünnetçioğlu et al., 2012]. In this context, gastronomy tourism, agro tourism, rural tourism implementations have gained importance. The food and beverage located on destination is considered as an important part of tourist experience and it is expressed that one-third of tourist expenses are the food expenses. In this context, in terms of tourism sector a law has been prepared in order to prevent confusion between local values that are gaining importance both in our country and around the world [Orhan, 2010].



Experiencing the local flavors presented at destination is as important as experiencing the gastronomic tourism destination in the destination’s culture. In this context, providing the same quality of experienced local flavor and being geographically marked for the products of that area and region are really important. The countries which wish to increase their share of the world tourism revenue pie give great importance to gastronomy tourism. Accordingly, they unbind the gastronomic values to other countries. Turkey, as a country with rich natural and human resources has high product diversity which has geographical indications potentially. Geographical indication in gastronomy tourism is very important in order to attract the masses of tourists to the country and ensure the sustainability. For the development of gastronomic tourism in Turkey, first of all it is quite important to gain especially the Turkish local flavors for the gastronomic tourism and make them registered.

Despite the high potential of geographical indications, the registration of geographical indication has not been provided enough in Turkey until today. As a result, the concept of geographical indications in Turkey is not fully known yet and its importance is not understood enough. In order to promote Turkish cuisine and local products by various institutions and organizations the study of geographic markup increased. Thus, it has an important role in the transfer of traditional and local production to future generations, in the development of rural areas, the country’s economy of trade protection against unfair competition, the protection of the quality and standards of the products along with the names, cultural and economic wealth.




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How to cite this article

Seydi, Y., & Arzu, Ü. (2016). The importance of geographical indication in gastronomy tourism: Turkey. International Journal of Agricultural and Life Sciences, 2(4), 73-79. doi: 10.22573/spg.ijals.016.s12200069.






“The authors declare no conflict of interest”.


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