It’s finally official. The country you referred to as “Turkey” has officially changed its name to “Türkiye” (pronounced “tur-key-yay”), reflecting how the country’s name is written and pronounced in Turkish.
The country’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been pushing for the name change since late last year. The next step was for Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to send a letter to the United Nations formally requesting that the country be referred to as Türkiye.
Finally, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, confirmed on Thursday that Guterres had received the letter. Dujarric also said that the name change took effect immediately upon receipt of the letter, according to the Associated Press.
Make the change
According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Modern Türkiye was founded in 1923 from the remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire.
The country, which is slightly larger than the state of Texas, borders eight countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The other borders of Türkiye are the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
Last December, President Erdogan ordered the use of the new name to preserve values stemming from the Turkish nation’s deep-rooted history TRT worldthe English language state broadcaster of Türkiye.
“The term Türkiye best represents and expresses the culture, civilization and values of the Turkish nation,” Erdogan said in a statement TRT world. “In this context, the phrase ‘Made in Türkiye’ is now used instead of ‘Made in Turkey’ on our export products, which are our country’s pride in international trade.”
Another reason for the name change
Aside from Erdogan’s direction, TRT World explained in another article that Googling “Turkey” “brings up a convoluted array of images, articles and dictionary definitions merging the country with Meleagris – aka the turkey, a large bird found in North America is native — which is famous for being served on Christmas menus or Thanksgiving dinners,” according to the Associated Press reports.
The network also explained that “flipping through the Cambridge Dictionary and defining ‘turkey’ as ‘something that fails badly’ or ‘a stupid or silly person’.”
In fact, “the main reason why Turkey is changing its name is to remove the association with the bird,” said Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Istanbul-based think tank EDAM, according to CNN. “But also, the term is used colloquially to mean failure.”
Mixed reactions so far
So far, reactions to the name change appear to have been mixed.
On the one hand, the Türkiye government released a promotional video earlier this year to help with “brand management”. In this video, tourists from all over the world can be seen saying “Hello Türkiye” while standing in some of the country’s most famous spots.
On the other hand, while international organizations like the United Nations may now be required to use the country’s new name, no one knows how quickly the name, which contains a letter not even found in the English alphabet, will catch on.
“It won’t happen overnight for the general public,” Ulgen said, according to CNN. “It will probably be many years before the wider international public makes the switch from Turkey to Türkiye.”
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