'Döner' takes center stage in recent political discourse

'Döner' takes center stage in recent political discourse

Döner takes center stage in recent political discourse

From official visits to discussions about trademarks and economic policies, "döner," an indispensable meat dish cooked on a rotisserie, has been at the forefront of the political agenda in Türkiye, Greece and Germany.

Recent developments after Türkiye’s application for the registration of döner as a "traditional specialty guaranteed" in the EU Official Journal sparked unease in neighboring Greece, particularly in light of Greece’s previous attempts to claim baklava and kokoreç as Greek products.

Greek media outlets have debated the potential ramifications of Türkiye’s bid, with headlines such as “Türkiye starts döner war with Europe,” drawing attention to the criteria outlined in the application regarding the ingredients, preparation and cutting of döner.

The annual turnover of döner sales in Europe stands at a staggering 3.5 billion euros, making it a lucrative market for establishments selling the iconic Turkish dish.

However, if Türkiye’s bid is accepted and the döner is registered as a traditional product, it is debated that significant losses are anticipated for many establishments in Greece.

In Greece, where döner is a popular dish sold alongside gyros, sentiments about the origin of the dish also run high. Notably, while gyro is originally made from pork, döner in Greece often consists of minced meat.

Origins of the döner remain a contentious debate, with some tracing its roots back to the Ottoman period.

Historical records, including accounts by travelers such as Evliya Çelebi and a photograph of a döner shop in Istanbul dating back to 1855 provide glimpses into its early history, food researcher Özge Samancı said.

Meanwhile, in Germany, recent events also added another layer to the döner debate. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s gesture of bringing döner from Germany during his official visit to Türkiye sparked differing interpretations in both countries.

In response to rising döner prices, particularly in cities such as Munich and Frankfurt where it reached up to 10 euros for a portion, Germany’s left party has proposed state support measures to curb the increase. This includes distributing döner coupons and subsidizing prices to alleviate the financial burden on consumers.