The İstanbul Simit Tradesmen Chamber has launched a process to get an international patent for the number one Turkish street food, the simit, a ring of chewy bread coated with toasted sesame seeds.
İstanbul Simit Tradesmen Chamber Chairman Zeki Sami Özdemir on Tuesday filed a petition with the İstanbul Union of Craftsmen and Artisans' Chambers (İSTESOB) and called on the chamber to take action and the necessary steps to protect Turkey's national food, the simit.
The petition came after US President Barack Obama said -- at a ceremony of Greeks held on March 25 in the White House -- he admired the taste of “Greek baklava,” a sweet pastry, which has been regarded by the Turks and the Greeks as their traditional dessert for centuries.
“We will hold on to our simit and won't allow Greeks to grab our simit,” İSTESOB Chairman Faik Yılmaz said, adding that Greeks have been presenting Turkish traditional foods as their own for centuries. He emphasized that Turkish baklava has its origins in Central Asia.
The simit is one of the most widely consumed food products in Turkey.
Foreigners now know it as the national food of Turks. It sometimes serves as breakfast and even lunch for both the rich and the poor. That is why simit sales, instead of dropping during an economic crisis, increase. Economic problems in Turkey have not caused the sale of simit and accompanying cups of tea to decrease.
"We express our regret. We say that we are sharing the pain felt by those who lost loved ones. We say that we will pay compensation, if needed.", Yildirim said.
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