• Sweden's news in English

Greek man sues Swedish firm over Turkish yoghurt pic

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 9 Apr 2010, 07:26

Published: 09 Apr 2010 07:26 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The man whose picture adorns the Turkish yoghurt product, manufactured by Lindahls dairy in Jönköping, argues that the company does not have permission to use his image. He has now sued Lindahls for 50 million kronor ($6.9 million), according to Sveriges Radio (SR) Jönköping.

The man, who lives in Greece, was made aware of the use of his picture on the popular Swedish product when an acquaintance living in Stockholm recognized his bearded friend.

"I was surprised and I could not believe my eyes. It was a shock to see him there suddenly, someone I know. He didn't like it, he was upset and wondered how it had happened," Athanasios Varzakanos told SR.

In his writ the man has underlined that he is not Turkish, he is Greek, and lives in Greece, and the use of his picture is thus misleading both for those who know him and for buyers of the product.

Story continues below…

Lindahls dairy has expressed surprise at the writ and argues that the image was bought from a picture agency, and as far as they are aware all the rights of the photographer have been respected, SR writes.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

08:27 April 9, 2010 by zlexi
Upset!! my arse, he saw € & thought caching, how much could I make!
08:30 April 9, 2010 by Kronaboy
Hey the Turkish product is 10:- cheaper than the greek rubish
10:09 April 9, 2010 by Nemesis
If they used his picture without permission then he has the right to compensation.
10:10 April 9, 2010 by DAVID T
I'm not suprised he's pissed - the Greeks hate the Turks
10:23 April 9, 2010 by orionorbit
we don't hate the turks. We just owe a lot of money to ze germans.
10:32 April 9, 2010 by Åskar
They bought the picture from an agency. If he has any bones to pick he should sue the photographer who most probably has paid him a model fee.
11:11 April 9, 2010 by foxpur
If an agency pic that is a case against the picture agency only. He's outta luck,
11:36 April 9, 2010 by quadratic
he looks like a Turk and I believe that many Mediterranean nations have similarities.
11:38 April 9, 2010 by unt9
Funny, who cares in Sweden, Greek or Turkish, one day I saw a TV show about Latvia with the Russian music in the background :)
12:17 April 9, 2010 by Kronaboy

Actually the majority of ethnic Turks living in Western Turkey look European (blond hair blue eyes etc...) because the majority lived in the Balkans for 500 years before they were ethnically cleansed between the 1800's to 1947, and the majority of Greeks living in Greece look like the Kurds and Armenians of Eastern Turkey. If memory serves me correctly a study was carried out some years ago which showed a very close DNA link between all three groups?
12:33 April 9, 2010 by comentatir

I think it is more complicated than that =)
12:43 April 9, 2010 by ponderer

If you think he looks like a Turk you are more clueless than you think and you should get out of Sweden a bit more often and when you do get out of the country try visiting a few more places than the tourist-traps crawling with scandinavians. I can give you the names of a couple of villages in Greece where you can go and tell them they look like Turks and see how they take it.
12:49 April 9, 2010 by queenS
@unt9 go back to school and learn some history about Latvia, then you will not be surprised about anything Russian there. It is like "oh... I saw Swedish street names in Finland".
13:01 April 9, 2010 by Céitinn
According to photographic copyright law you do not need a person to sign a release contract if their picture is taken in a public place. For example, if I have my picture taken whilst sitting at Medborplatsen the photographer can use it or see it to advertise a product as long as it does not project me in a negative light. Such as an ad for alcoholism. There would be nothing I could do about it hence why so many people can be in pictures, film or tv as part of a background scene.

However, if I were portrayed as an alcoholic or named as a Swede in the picture advertising something then I would have a winnable case because I was misrepresented.

The only thing the guy has to sue anyone for is being called Turkish which as a Greek I can understand he is very insulted by........Cyprus anyone?
13:02 April 9, 2010 by Hauhr
Remember that girl who got drunk at a party and some guy took photos of her poonani? Although he took pictures of someone without their consent it was determined there was no wrongdoing - because if if it had then it would open the doors for anyone who happens to be in a picture to complain. Like if you were on holiday in Paris and took a photo of your wife by the eiffel tower and put it on facebook, every passer-by who ended up in the picture could sue you or report you to the police. It wouldn't surprise me if the same reasoning will apply in this case, but you never know...
13:13 April 9, 2010 by quadratic
@ ponderer

your comment about me is based on wrong assumptions dude.
13:22 April 9, 2010 by Céitinn
@ Hauhr

There is a big difference between taking somebody's picture at a party, on private property, and in front of a public landmark in public. I would be amazed if the guy got off with taking the picture of a girls private parts and made use of them for anything other than his own perverted ends.

In England it is getting very silly over photography and public places. If you try to take a picture at a train station or a shopping centre you get spoken to but I can understand that a little as whilst it is a public place they are privately owned.

People who take beach pictures often get reported because a kid is in the picture, albeit as a tiny spot in the distance.

At the end of the day if you are on public land you can take anyone's picture who us also on public land and use it in a way which does not defame the subject. You can't be on public land and photography someone on private land as many photographers who take celebrity pictures have learnt.
13:46 April 9, 2010 by calebian22

Hauhr is referring to this story below. If nude pictures taken without consent in Sweden is okay, I too would guess that this man's lawsuit will be an uphill battle.

13:55 April 9, 2010 by Norrlands Turk
This is what you do when you go broke as a nation. Hilarious :)
13:58 April 9, 2010 by Nemesis
@ Kronaboy

The blue eyes and blond hair in Turkey comes from the old Galician province which was Celtic.
14:10 April 9, 2010 by caradoc
Actually if his photo was taken in a public space and used in an advert then the photographer must have a model release in order to use the image. If the photo is used only by the photographer e.g on his website , or for editorial purposes then no release is needed.

14:11 April 9, 2010 by PonceDeLeon
I saw a local sports clinic using an image of Usain Bolt in an advertising campaign. I was surprised to say the least. Obviously the laws regarding this lack of integrity are very blurry in Sweden.
15:50 April 9, 2010 by Céitinn
@ calebian22

Thanks for the link.

@ caradoc

This is not the case when I was studying photography in England in the late 90's and early 00's. You do not need a model release if the photo is taken in public as long as it does not portray the person in a negative way.

So, a picture of 4 old people outside ICA with a caption saying "ICA, senior citizen friendly" is ok as is "ICA keeps you healthy" But to say "Inga shops at ICA" or "ICA turns you into a rancid old bag" would not be ok without a model release.

A picture can still portray a person in a negative way in an editorial or on a website so the rules are no different to using a photograph in an advert or on a T-shirt, billboard or carton of milk.

Two books I can recommend which I have are

The Law (in Plain English) for Photographers


A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things.


Yes, they may be for UK law but the principal is the same.
17:18 April 9, 2010 by DerSchwede

Privacy laws are certainly not the same everywhere. I suggest you read up on the case of "Anastasios Reklos". Taking photographs of people in Greece (and Germany as well as France), even in public places, is not allowed without permission. A model release would therefore be necessary. Most serious photo agencies will just reject your images if you do not have a model release anyway.

You should have studied photography elsewhere, I guess. One that does not teach that UK law is applicable everywhere in the world.
19:08 April 9, 2010 by munched
@Céitinn Sorry, but you're all wet. Yes they can take your photo in a public place but that does not allow them to use it in a commercial maner without your express permission. This Greek not only has a case against the end user (The Dairy) but the photo agency AND the photographer as well. If I were him, I'd ask for $8 million from each of them! Unfortunately, the photographer is probably broke and living with his girlfriend but there should be some jingle in the pockets of the other two.
19:38 April 9, 2010 by petersonberg
not all but most of Greeks do not like Turks but when they come together they have much more common than Germans or Frenches or other EU countries

for example raki We all like it :)
19:43 April 9, 2010 by skatsouf
"Greeks hate Turks": the triumph of stereotypical thinking
19:51 April 9, 2010 by petersonberg

it is not a stereotype it is what questionares,pools statistics says
20:47 April 9, 2010 by Elton John
petersonberg: Could you provide a link to such "statistics"?
21:16 April 9, 2010 by jaradat_omar
Hey relax everyone!!

Don't make it a big deal and reopen the old conflict books between nations.

All what happened and briefly is a compensation case between someone used someone picture without any permission.

And regardless of both sides and personally I think 50 million kronor ($6.9 million) is tooooooo much.
23:46 April 9, 2010 by RachelKohn
It does seem like a generalisation to say all Greeks hate Turks but I must admit that nearly all the Greeks I have met have expressed their passionate 'dislike' of Turks, many of them still hold a candle that Anatolia will one day be Greek again. The sad thing is this man obviously feels offended by being associated with something Turkish, and my Turkish friend assures me that any Turk would be flattered their image was used, so I say he should shut up and be grateful they found his face flattering enough for marketing purposes.
01:24 April 10, 2010 by Twiceshy
as a Greek Cypriot I don't dislike Turks, however many GC don't like TC because we think they are traitors.

True, in older generations they don't really like the Turks but that is too stereotypical nowadays as newer generations in both countries have gone past this old 'hatred'.

But the thing is, it's not just about his pic misrepresented.. it's about many originally Greek food is regarded as Turkish in many countries because the liars advertised it as such..like turkish coffee is originally Greek etc. You have to understand that Turkey doesn't really have a genuine culture and everything they stole from Greece or other Balkan countries.

anyway, I do believe if his picture was on a product labelled 'Greek yoghurt', he'd probably feel far less passionate about suing them.
09:27 April 10, 2010 by Kronaboy

Don't be silly, the blond hair and blue eyes come from the fact we came strutting our stuff and all those Greek babes let our a sigh of relief "finally a real man instead of those Plato bandits". What does a bunch of Celt's have to do with us, besides the Chinese still tell stories of red haired, red bearded barbarians (Huns) to frighten their children; and then there is the blond haired blue eyed Laz (pure ethnic Greeks) of Northern Turkey. Besides as I understood it the Galician province is in Ukraine/Poland, the last time we went any were near there was when the Golden Horde went riding up to Mosscow, and when was the last time you saw a blond haired blue eyed Tartar Turk? Instead of listening to all that racist propaganda discover the real facts for your self, regardless of what some might say we have been a part of European culture since the Cumins and we are going to be here for another 1000 years.


How is it more complex than that please tell us, as descendent of ethnically cleansed Turks from our ancestral lands in the last round of 1947 I would like to know? Just because the Greek government has outlawed Turks from calling them selves Turks and the government of Southern Cyprus has outlawed Turks from entering into a legal marriage doesn't mean we have ceased to exist.
09:42 April 10, 2010 by Céitinn
@ DerSchwede

I am well aware UK law is not world law, I am not an American! The books I mentioned are not solely based on UK law they point out alternative laws in case one should travel to take photographs, as most photographers do.

However if taking a picture of someone in public is illegal in Greece (for example) you could not sue me in the UK for breaking the law because the law in the UK would not be broken!

Are you seriously trying to tell me i could not take your picture in the middle of Dortmund without your permission? Because this is BS! I have 2 German sister in laws to 2 brothers who have lived in Germany since 1978 when they were in the British Army posted there so I know that is not true!

@ munched

I suggest you read the books I mentioned which point out the law in different jurisdictions. So, are you saying if I take a picture of the Eiffel Tower that I would need signatures from everyone in the picture before I could use it to advertise something French? Because that is simply not true even if someone is the focal point of the picture.

I have done that and never had a come back and photo agencies know this too.
11:33 April 10, 2010 by Kronaboy

The French have strict privacy laws hence why you will hear nothing within the French media about Carla Bruni knobin real men left right and centre (probably prefers Turks), and there is nothing to stop an individual from brining liable action in Greece if an article has appeared in Greece, even if its by way of the internet, hence why you have stupid cases where a Saudi Arabian is suing a USA media company in the UK because someone has read the article on line in the UK.
12:32 April 13, 2010 by podga
@ twiceshy

Actually, I just noticed yesterday that his image also appears on Lindahls Tzatziki, along with an image of the Parthenon. So I don't know if Lindahls just arranged that a couple of days ago to appease him, or if the Tzatziki has always used his image, but, if the latter, Lindahls itself appears to be confused about brand marketing...
20:00 April 13, 2010 by DemetriusL
Dear friends, My name - as you can, probably, understand from my usedname - is Demetrius and I' m a Greek student, at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. I'm in Law School, so I may have a much clearer view on the subject. In this case applicable is the greek law, the trial procedures are to take place in Greece and by the law of the land this man has a case. If you ask me he is overreacting, because his - though not a legal one - argument - or more correctly his sole complaint - is based upon his nationality. Ok, he's old, as Shakespear wrote you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. There's no hatred for Turks, just some bitterness about the confusion. It's like naming a french cheese italian, or a french patisserie product british. Scandinavians may not understand the deep routes of these emotion, that - superficially - some consider as a plain discontence. Greece and Turkey, or Turkey and Greece if you prefer, have many skeletons in their closets. i.e. Cyprus, the coastline in the Aegean Sea, the Imia - of which I'm sure you don't know (in a few words during 1996 Turkish soldiers landed on the Greek isle of Imia in the aegean area of Dodekanisa only to remove the greek flag standing there since 1947, when according to Treaties the isle become part of the Greek State. Everything seemed like an occupation. Nowadays with the tolerance of the international community Imia and other areas like them, originally part of the Greek State are considered dead zones or grey zones, unspecified to whom they belong). Excuse my parenthesis but I wish to inform you on facts. Some discontence or even hostility is to be understood - though not forgiven - for both countries. Secondly blond Turks exist as well as blond Greeks. Scandinavians come to the area now known as Greece and Turkey during the era of the Byzantine Empire - more correctly East Roman Empire, pars occidentis imperii romanorum was its official name- to ransack as pirates. But such was their force, braveness and power that the Emperor hired them as soldiers of his own, so they settled in Constantinople, today know as Istanbul, and in other areas of the Thema Helladicum, nowadays known as Greece. Wallachs and Slavonians which are considered Greek since - at least - th early 1800's completed our blond genes. Finally, the first King of Greece was a Bavarian, with whom many Germans came to the land. The Turkish blonds come from the same roots (mutatis mutandis) but also one more, of major importance. The Seltzuks, a turkish clan to which the ottomans were originally subjected, until the Seltzuk Sultans grew weak so as for the Ottomans to come in power.
21:25 April 13, 2010 by Coalbanks
A province called Galicia exists in Turkey also, no? Who cares? The main qustion should be : How does anyone get away with selling spoiled milk as food?
09:50 April 14, 2010 by ajohnrahimovich
When i saw that product with that picture in the Ica Store, i said to my wife: Aha it is not Turkish guy!!! To introduce Traditional Turkish people you need to put other picture. This photo doesnt show Turkish Culture. I have studied and lived in Turkey for 11 years. It is all about details, if you are not familiar with those region ofcourse you can not see the specifications. But in my opinion the photo must be change. If it is Turkish Yougurt the photo must introduce Turkish Traditional Culture. Turkish people discovered Yougurt and it is the best product ever, healthy and delicious. Mc Donalds in USA is selling Yougurt to their clients as a healthy drink which calls Ayran!
20:52 April 14, 2010 by sotiris
I am a Greek living in Sweden. I read the article and all the comments with a very good Turkish friend I have here in Sweden and we just laughed over the mess that this story has created.

My opinion is we should all gather in Medborgarplatsen start throwing yogurts to each other in order to solve this issue. The money that Lindahls make out of that flight, they can give it to me (I am a graphic designer) so I do the rebranding for the yogurt!

P.S.: Some serious gourmet tip. Use the Turkish yogurt for cooking and the Greek for making tzatzaki!

P.S.: Sorry I cant be serious with that issue, I guess this planet has bigger issues to deal with!
12:00 April 15, 2010 by Kronaboy

that's Salonika
16:46 April 15, 2010 by Rrakkma
Wow its funny to read such things about Greeks vs Turks "hatred". There are many people who doesn't think ill about each other. It's the result of some historical misunderstandings which came today or/and some spider-brained country elders brainwashed their grandkids (at both sides).

On topic; That guy has a right to sue the company withing the copyright laws. It's his personal photo, as long as he didn't give permission for it, he can ask about his rights.

PS - After raki, coffee, yogurt and baklava (which is not Turkish originally, just like Kebab) what is next to be labeled as a Greek product? Turkish Delight?

Many of these recipes are coming from Middle-eastern area. Just eat and enjoy delicious world cousine :)
09:39 April 16, 2010 by Kronaboy

Damn right, any idiot with half a brain cell can tell this guy is too ugly to be a Turk, get him off our yoghurt and stick him on the overpriced Greek rubbish. And if anybody has problem with that they can chew on my sweet Turkish delight. Viva free Demotika.
16:15 April 17, 2010 by ajohnrahimovich
I am working in Stockholm for International Help Center. We are organizing International Nights(Iranian,African,Turkish,Swedish,Yugoslavian,Russian ect) and inviting Swedish and Those International People who moved to Sweden to Integrate with Swedish Society. I am not seperating any nationality and talking bad about them, Every nation has valuable Culcure and History. Just my opinion is to introduce the cultures with their right own traditional belongings. May 15 we are organizing Turkish Night, Everybody welcome to get to know more about Turkish Culture and Turkish Foods.

Turkish Night

Date: 15 May 2010 Saturday

Time: 18:00 - 13:00

Location : Globen Areana / Stockholm



Turkish Pop,

Turkish Music,

Belly Dance


7 diffrent type Meze, Dolma, Borek (patty)

3 diffrent type of hot meal, Kolgrill, Adana,


Alcohol Drinks ( extra )

Wa are waiting for everybody not just Turkish People, People who is intrested in Turkish Food and Culture.

Note : For reservation use those mail and phone.

email: ajohn@siniorganik.se

Ajohn Rahimovich
09:11 June 20, 2010 by cleverclick
The same photo is also to be found at Fodor travel guide to Greece. He might still have his photo available for use at his advertising agent??

Today's headlines
This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available