Friday, March 27, 2009

One Minute!

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s now famous outburst in Davos appears to be the gift that keeps on giving. As Hurriyet reported the other day:
One minute! These two words uttered Jan. 29 by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against David Ignatius, who was moderating a panel on the Middle East in Davos, Switzerland became so famous that Turkish companies are rushing to buy their patents.

Abdullah Unakıtan, a young businessman and the son of Finance Minister Kemal Unakıtan, was the first who applied to the Turkish Patent Institute, or TPE, to register "One Minute" as a brand. But due to political controversy, the young Unakıtan withdrew his Feb. 5 application, by request from his father. Abdullah Unakıtan delegated his application to Mehmet Elmas, Hürriyet learned.

The "One Minute" brand currently has a dozen owners, including BİM Mağazaları, a retail chain, Star Ak, Akspor and Sahim Gıda, a food company.
And as CNN's Ivan Watson reports from the campaign trail, where he was tagging along with Erdogan during the lead up to Sunday's municipal elections:
At AKP rallies, "One minute!" -- which a red-faced Erdogan yelled at the moderator of the [Davos] debate in halting English -- has become a rallying cry for supporters who call him the "Conqueror of Davos."
There have also been other attempts to capitalize on Erdogan’s words, which have been Turkified into the single word "Vanminut." One designer has put up a website that sells t-shirts (for a mere 10 lira, or around $6)  with the word “Vanminut” and a hand with a pointed finger printed on it. Meanwhile, some of the vendors at an open-air fruit and vegetable bazaar where I shop have replaced their usual singsong sales chants with “Vanminut, tomatoes” and so on. It seems that in conquering Davos, Erdogan has also managed to conquer the bazaar, which, in political terms, may count for even more.

(Photo: Turkish PM Erdogan and moderator David Ignatius at the Jan. 29 panel in Davos, Switzerland)

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