Germany reacts to Turkiye’s doner kebab application to EU

Türkiye’s application to register döner kebab as a traditional Turkish product with the European Union has sparked reactions from Germany.

The International Döner Kebab Federation in Istanbul has filed the application,aiming to both recognize döner as a Turkish product and protect its production standards.

Published on April 24 in the Official Journal of the European Union, Türkiye’s application is undergoing a three-month appeal process before a final decision is made. If accepted, döner kebab will receive the same protection as Italian Neapolitan pizza and French champagne. This would mean that only kebabs meeting specific criteria could be labeled as döner, and non-compliance could result in fines or imprisonment.

Germany has raised objections, emphasizing the döner’s significant cultural significance in the country. The snack, brought to Germany by Turkish expatriates, has become immensely popular, with a third of Germans reportedly eating döner at least once a month. Many in Germany view Türkiye’s move as an attack on their cultural identity.

“Döner kebab has become a national snack in Germany,” a spokesperson from the German Food Ministry said. “Imposing new standards on its production could undermine its unique adaptation in Germany.”

Türkiye’s proposal includes standards for the thinness of slices and specific meat characteristics. Döner must be cut horizontally with a thickness of 3-5 mm and made from lamb and beef, not veal as commonly used in Germany and chicken döner must be cut 1-2 centimeters thick.

“There is no döner made in Türkiye like we make it here,” Arif Keleş, a prominent döner master from Berlin, told Stern Magazine. “Accepting Türkiye’s application would create significant challenges for us.”

The economic stakes are high, with the döner kebab industry in Europe estimated to be worth 3.5 billion euros, according to the Turkish Döner Producers Association in Europe.

Source: hurriyetdailynews

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