The state-run news agency reported that the Turkish government sent a letter to the United Nations officially requesting to be referred to as Turkey.
The move is seen as part of an effort by Ankara to rename the country and separate it from the bird of the same name and the negative connotations associated with it.
Anadolu Agency said that the spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric, confirmed the receipt of the letter from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The agency quoted Dujarric as saying that the name change became effective “from the moment” of receiving the letter. “It is not uncommon for us to receive such requests,” Dujarric told The Washington Post.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is pressing for the internationally recognized name Turkey to be changed to Türkiye (tur-key-YAY) as it is spelled and pronounced in Turkish. It called itself Turkey in 1923 after declaring its independence.
In December 2021, Erdogan ordered the use of Turkish to better present Turkish culture and values, including by demanding the use of “Made in Turkey” instead of “Made in Turkey” on exported products. Turkish ministries also began to use Turkish in official documents.
This year the government released a promotional video as part of its attempts to change its name in English. The video shows tourists from all over the world saying “Hello Türkiye” at popular destinations.
The Turkish Presidency’s Communications Directorate said it launched the campaign “to more effectively promote the use of the word ‘Turkey’ as the country’s national and international name on international platforms.”
It was not clear if the name, which contains a letter not found in the English alphabet, would appear widely abroad. In 2016, the Czech Republic officially registered its acronym, Czechia, and while some international institutions use it, many still refer to the country by its longer name.
Turkey’s official English-speaking station TRT World has switched to using Turkish though the word Turkey has intervened, which is used by journalists still trying to get used to the change.
TRT World explained the decision in an article earlier this year, saying that a search for “turkey” on Google brings up “a confusing array of images, articles and dictionary definitions that confuse the country and millegris – also known as the turkey, which is a large bird that is native to North America–which is famous for serving on Christmas menus or Thanksgiving dinners.”
The network continued: “Browsing the Cambridge dictionary and ‘a turkey’ is defined as ‘something that fails badly’ or ‘a stupid or silly person’.”
TRT World argued that Turks would prefer their country to be called Turkey, “in keeping with the state’s objectives in determining how it is defined by others”.
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