ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has sent a letter to the United Nations officially requesting that his country be called “Türkiye,” the official news agency reported. The move is seen as part of a push by Ankara to rename the country and disassociate its name from the bird, the turkey and some negative connotations associated with it.
Anadolu Agency said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, confirmed receipt of the letter on Wednesday evening. The agency quoted Dujarric as saying the name change became effective “from the moment” the letter was received.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been pushing for Turkey’s internationally recognized name to be changed to “Türkiye” (tur-key-YAY) as it is spelled and pronounced in Turkish. The country was called “Türkiye” in 1923 after its declaration of independence.
In December, Erdogan ordered the use of “Türkiye” to better represent Turkish culture and values, including requiring that “Made in Türkiye” be used instead of “Made in Turkey” on exported products. Turkish ministries started using “Türkiye” in official documents.
Earlier this year, the government also released a promotional video as part of its attempts to change its name to English. The video shows tourists from all over the world saying “Hello Türkiye” at famous destinations.
The Turkish Presidency’s communications directorate 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 spread widely overseas. 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.
Turkish English-language public broadcaster TRT World has switched to using “Türkiye”, although the word “Turkey” has crept in among journalists who are still trying to get used to the change.
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 confuse the country with Meleagris – otherwise known as turkey, a large bird native to North America – which is famous for being served on Christmas menus or Thanksgiving dinners.
The network continued: “Flip through the Cambridge dictionary and ‘turkey’ is defined as ‘something that fails badly’ 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”.
The Associated Press