The Turkish government minister responsible for foreign trade, Kursat Tuzman, has urged leather producers and sectoral associations to use brand names to stimulate recognition and quality guarantees, particularly for export items. Branding has become the rage, even though some inexperienced firms are still learning that the trust and emotional bond with your sneakers, burger or backpack must be developed in stages, or that any old name slapped on a pair of shoes does not automatically generate sales.

To help such companies, several quasi-legal firms have sprung up, such as Ciragan Patent Office, with offices in Istanbul, Bursa and Moscow. They help firms register brands, deal with copyright legalities and patents and advise on standards such as ISO and CE marking. Company spokesman, Sener Özen, explained that brands and, indeed, firms like his gained legitimacy since the government began enforcing penalties (a jail term after one initial warning) on pirating, copying and other intellectual property violations.

So far, most Turkish laws apply internally and global harmonisation regarding legal matters is a long way off. But, in the meantime, it would be better if some branded shoes came up with original names. Attaching turkified Euro-labels is one way not to build brands!