Hello Türkiye  - Turkey Changes Its Name To Türkiye 

Updated on Nov 26, 2023 | Turkey e-Visa

The Turkish government prefers that you refer to Turkey by its Turkish name, Türkiye, from now on. For non-Turks, the "ü" sounds like a long "u" paired with an "e," with the entire pronunciation of the name sounding something like "Tewr-kee-yeah."

This is how Turkey is rebranding itself internationally: as "Türkiye" - not "Turkey" – with President Erdogan claiming that this term "better symbolises and conveys the Turkish nation's culture, civilisation, and values."

Last month, the government launched the "Hello Türkiye" campaign, prompting many to conclude that Turkey is becoming more conscious of its worldwide image.

Some critics claim that this is only an attempt by Turkey to separate itself from linkages to the same-named bird (a relationship that is alleged to irritate Erdogan) or from specific dictionary meanings. In North America, the term "turkey" is frequently used to describe something that is either very or utterly unsuccessful, particularly when applied to a play or a film.

Did The United Nations Approve the Change?

Turkey is reportedly planning to register its new name, Türkiye, with the United Nations soon. However, the absence of the Turkish "ü" from the nominal Latin alphabet may be an issue.

The United Nations has decided to alter Turkey's name from Ankara to Türkiye after the global organisation approved a formal request for the change. The UN said it received a request from Ankara earlier this week, and the modification was implemented shortly after. The UN's endorsement of the name change kicks off a similar process of adoption by other international agencies and organisations.

Last year, the process of changing the country's name began. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country's president, said in a statement in December 2021 that the word "Turkiye" "better embodies and conveys the Turkish nation's culture, civilisation, and values."

Turkiye is the local name, but the anglicised variant 'Turkey' has become the worldwide name for the country.

Why does Turkey insist on being referred to as Türkiye?

Last year, the state broadcaster TRT produced a study outlining some of the reasons behind this. The name 'Turkey' was chosen after the country gained independence in 1923, according to the document. "Europeans have referred to the Ottoman state and afterwards Turkiye by a variety of names over the years. The Latin "Turquia" and the more common "Turkey" are the names that have lasted the most, according to the survey.

There were, however, further justifications. The Turkish government, it appears, was dissatisfied with the Google search results for the phrase "Turkey." The big turkey that is served for Thanksgiving and Christmas in some regions of North America was one of the results.

The government has also objected to the Cambridge Dictionary's definition of the term "turkey," which is defined as "anything that fails miserably" or "a dumb or foolish person."

This unflattering association dates back centuries, when "European colonisers set foot in North America, they ran into wild turkeys, a bird that they mistakenly assumed was similar to the guinea fowl, which was native to eastern Africa and imported to Europe through the Ottoman Empire," according to TRT.

The bird eventually made its way onto colonisers' tables and dinners, and the bird's link with these celebrations has stayed ever since.

What is Turkey's strategy for dealing with the change?

The government has launched a significant rebranding drive, with the phrase "Made in Turkey" appearing on all exported goods. According to the BBC, the government also began a tourist campaign in January this year with the slogan "Hello Türkiye."

However, according to the BBC, while government loyalists favour the initiative, given the country's economic difficulties, it has found few takers outside of that group. It might also serve as a diversion as the country prepares for elections next year.

Are there any other countries that have changed their names?

Other countries, such as Turkey, have altered their names to avoid colonial legacies or to promote themselves.

The Netherlands, which was renamed from Holland; Macedonia, which was renamed North Macedonia owing to political issues with Greece; Iran, which was renamed from Persia in 1935; Siam, which was renamed Thailand; and Rhodesia, which was renamed Zimbabwe to shed its colonial past.

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