Turkey is now officially called Türkiye, which means “Turkey” in Turkish. Last week, the Turkish government sent a letter to the United Nations requesting that the name Turkey be used from now on. A UN spokesman said the name change took effect from the moment the UN received the letter. The use of the letter “ü”, which is not part of the Latin alphabet, was not a problem. Now it is Turkey instead of Turkey or Turkey.
The request is part of a broader effort by President Erdogan to rename the country. This campaign started in December last year when he issued a memo asking the public to use the word “Türkiye” as the name of the country from now on – in any language.
“Turkey has been accepted as an umbrella brand for our country in national and international forums. “Turkey is the best representation and expression of the culture, civilization and values of the Turkish people,” the president said.
Erdogan instructed ministries and other state institutions to use “Turkish” in official documents, particularly in their correspondence with international organizations. He advised Turkish companies to do somade in Turkey“on their export products, rather than”made in Turkey† In addition, the government launched a promotional video in English, in which tourists from all over the world participate’hello turkeyThey say as they wander around the popular holiday destinations in Turkey.
The English-speaking state media, TRT, Anatolia and the pro-government press, faithfully followed the name change and also tried to explain the decision. They say that choosing her name is an expression of Turkey’s sovereignty, and the pride of bearing a Turkish name. Turks have always thought it strange that their country’s name means “Turkey” in English. An article by TRT World referred to the English dictionary, where turkey It is defined as a “failure” or a “stupid or stupid person”.
Turks will find it strange that their country means “Turkey” in English
At first, the Turks did not know whether to take the campaign seriously. They wondered what Erdogan wants to achieve with this. Does he now also want to change the name of the country? Don’t you think of more important things like inflation of 73 percent? Can a Turkish name be imposed on other language regions, especially those that do not use the Latin alphabet? But the request for a name change at the United Nations shows that Erdogan is serious.
Turkey is not the first country to push for a name change. Countries usually do this to bid farewell to the colonial name and to symbolically rid themselves of the colonial yoke. Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980 and Burma became Myanmar in 1989. This latest name change has been accepted by the United Nations and countries such as France and Japan. But there were also countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, that refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Burmese Military Council and with it its power to rename the country.
Distract from feeling upset
The renaming of Turkey appears intended primarily to play on Erdogan’s nationalist supporters, and divert attention from the economic stagnation, which has left the opposition in opinion polls. By imposing the Turkish name of Turkey on other language areas, especially English, Erdogan appears to want to emphasize that Turkey has grown under his leadership into an independent superpower that the West can no longer direct.
The word “Türkiye” is not so Turkish: it appears to be taken from Italian or French
Linguistically speaking, however, this logic is shaky. According to the etymological dictionary of the Turkish-Armenian writer and linguist Sevan Nichanyan, the name “Turkey” is taken from the Italian word “Turchia” or the French “Turquie”, which means “land of the Turks”. Nichanyan writes: “The term, widely used by Westerners since the thirteenth century, gained popularity in the last quarter of the nineteenth century among Turks familiar with Western culture.” Thus, Turkey is a European loanword, not as original as Erdogan.
English speaking press
It is also not easy to replace the old name, especially if it differs slightly from the new one in terms of spelling and pronunciation. In any case, the English-speaking press will continue to use Turkey for the time being. Government leaders are also struggling with the new name. This became apparent in March during Prime Minister Rutte’s visit to Turkey. “It is a pleasure to be back in Turkey,” Rutte began joint press conference with Erdogan. But after a few sentences he spoke again of “Turkey”.
Time will tell whether the Turkish spelling of the name remains consistent.
A version of this article also appeared in the June 7, 2022 newspaper
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