And just like that, Turkish tourism authorities took a 3,000-year old name inexorably linked to Greek mythology and tradition and “Turkified” it.
That’s right. To the millions of people on the receiving end of a well-funded and attractively created tourism campaign, the Aegean Sea is now, according to Turkey’s tourism bureau, the Turkaegean.
This is nothing new and things like this come straight out of the Turkish playbook.
Legions of paid lobbyists in Washington rewrite geopolitics every day and convince dollar-hungry U.S. politicians that Turkey is a stable ally.
For decades, American professors on Turkish payrolls have been rewriting history, claiming that a genocide of Armenians, Greeks and other Christian minorities never happened a century ago and even that Greeks themselves set fire to their own neighborhoods in Smyrna almost a century ago to the day.
So this latest attempt to rename the Aegean Sea, which was named after the mythical Greek King Aegeus, who jumped into the sea off Cape Sounion when he mistakenly took the black sails on a returning boat from Crete as a message that his son Theseus was devoured by the Minotaur— should not surprise us.
But what should raise a red flag, and perhaps alert the advocates, politicians, lobbyists and community leaders that every day defend Greece and Greece’s rights— is that this isn’t just a simple tourism campaign.
This is a well timed, systematic campaign to confuse and convolute the history and sovereignty of the region at a time when Turkish politicians make regular threats of invading Greek islands and Turkish drilling ships challenge international law in Greek territorial waters.
So well-played that Turkish officials even successfully registered “Turkaegean” with the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office last year.
Disguised as a harmless tourism campaign with bikinis, fun in the sun and beach shots is a wolf, seeking one more time to advance a twisted Turkish notion that land, history and territorial sovereignty are in some way in a gray zone— when in fact, concepts like “the Aegean” are as blue as its waters.
See one of the campaign’s videos here.
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