Battle continues over rights to Hellim cheese name

Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu has met with the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry (TCCI) over the efforts of South Cyprus to register halloumi/hellim as a protected designation of origin (PDO), BRT has broadcast.

According to BRT, Ali Cirali Chairman of the TCCI stated during the meeting that halloumi is a product of a joint culture of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, and an important product for North Cyprus. He also said that halloumi production provides a source of  income for 17% of the Turkish economy and its exports had earned over 30 million USD last year, making up a quarter of total exports.

“The Greek Cypriot government first registered the traditional cheese in South Cyprus under both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot name. They later applied to the European Union for registration. Once they succeed this registration will become international. If we fail to become part of this process then our producers will not be able to use the name hellim or halloumi when exporting our products abroad. This will end our hellim export” he stated.

President Eroglu said that he too shared the chamber’s concerns about the issue. He said that his under-secretary Hasan Gungor was in charge of the work being carried out on this issue.

Adding that the Greek Cypriot side continued to be persistent on the matter, Eroglu said that efforts to prove the Turkish Cypriot side’s case at the European Union, were continuing. “We are trying to explain to Brussels that this is a joint product of both peoples on the island, that awarding the registration to just one side will create economic difficulties and complications” he said.

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