The country has been campaigning for several years for its English name “Turkey“, the same name as “turkey” in English, to be replaced by its Turkish name “Türkiye”.
After the UN, the US State Department, in turn, officially agreed on Friday January 6 to comply with the Turkish request. In official documents and bilateral meetings, Turkey will henceforth be referred to as “Türkiye” and no longer “Turkey”.
Turkey considers, in fact, demeaning to be associated with the second meaning of the term in English, “turkey”, a homonym which frankly displeases its president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He has also launched an international communication campaign to impose the Turkish name of the country, with a lot of advertising spots.
In a promotional video created by the communication department of the Turkish presidency, tourists on vacation in Turkey repeat in chorus “Hello Türkiye”, a good half-dozen times. The clip is notably broadcast on the planes of the Turkish Airlines company which should, itself, in the long term only use its Turkish name, Türkiye Hava Yolları.
Seen from abroad, one might find this request a bit futile, but it is a strong political symbol in Turkey, it speaks to the nationalist feelings of Turkish voters. In their eyes, Turkey is once again imposing itself against a West that has long despised it. In any case, this is the story conveyed by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “One of the greatest services rendered to our country is perhaps the determination and the confidence in it that we have made it win, harangues the Turkish president. The official name change of our country from Turkey to Türkiye on the international scene is one of the symbols of this new period.”
In 1930, already, the Turkish Republic refused to deliver the mail indicating an address in Constantinople and not in Istanbul, idem for the letters sent to Angora rather than to Ankara. In Turkey, toponymy, this linguistic discipline studying the proper names designating a place, their age, their meaning, their etymology, their evolution, their relationship with the current or extinct spoken language, is an old battlefield.