From this Thursday, Turkey is called in English Türkiye instead of Turkey. The United Nations accepted a formal request made this week by the Turkish government for the name change on the international stage.
Why Turkey changed its name
Other international bodies will also be asked to adopt the new English name as part of a rebranding campaign launched by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late last year. “Türkiye is the best representation and expression of the culture, civilization and values of the Turkish people,” the president said in December.
Most Turks already refer to their country as Türkiye. However, the Anglo-Saxon form Turkey -which in English also means turkey- is widely used. According to Turkish state-owned media, TRT was quick to change the name as soon as it was announced last year, explaining that among the reasons for the makeover was Turkey’s association with the bird traditionally associated with Christmas, New Year or Thanksgiving.
In December, Erdogan mandated the use of “Türkiye” to better represent Turkish culture and values and demanded that “Made in Türkiye” be used instead of “Made in Turkey” on exported products. Turkish ministries began to use “Türkiye” in official documents.
Earlier this year, the government also released a promotional video as part of its attempts to change its English name. The video shows tourists from all over the world saying “Hello Türkiye” at famous destinations.
The Communications Directorate of the Turkish presidency said it launched the campaign “to more effectively promote the use of ‘Türkiye’ as the country’s national and international name on international platforms.”
It was unclear whether the name, with a letter that does not exist in the English alphabet, would catch on widely abroad. In 2016, the Czech Republic officially registered its short name, Czechia, and although some international institutions use it, many still refer to the country by its longer name.
TRT World explained the decision in an article earlier this year, saying that Googling “Turkey” brings up “a confusing set of images, articles, and dictionary definitions that conflate the country with Meleagris, also known as the turkey, a large native North American bird that is famous for being served on Christmas menus or at Thanksgiving dinners.”
The network continued: “Flip through the Cambridge Dictionary and ‘turkey’ is defined as ‘something seriously wrong’ or ‘a stupid or foolish person.'” TRT World argued that Turks prefer their country to be called Türkiye, “in accordance with the country’s goals of determining how others should identify it”.
Turkey’s Director of Communication Fahrettin Altun posted a promotional video on Twitter Wednesday with the caption: #HelloTürkiye.