Turkey doesn’t want to be Turkey anymore

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, asks the United Nations and other international organizations to drop the name “Turkey” and to use “Turkiye” instead. Too much Thanksgiving at the Bosporus?

Even if Erdogan looks a bit like this fellow, he wants his country to be called "Turkiye" from now on... Foto: Vince pahkala / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

(KL) – Okay, the English name of the great country of Turkey is Turkey. Just like the bird which fears for its life every Thanksgiving, being the favorite dish on American tables at this occasion. But now, Turkey doesn’t want to be Turkey anymore – in a letter sent to the United Nations and other international organizations, foreign secretary Mevlüt Cavusoglu has requested that “Turkey” should be replaced by “Turkiye”. Did Erdogan feel ridiculous leading a country bearing the same name as ordinary poultry?

The approach isn’t new. By the end of last year, the Turkish government had issued an order to not use “Turkey” anymore for labelling goods for exportations. Ever since, Turkish exporters are held to use “Made in Turkiye” when exporting goods. The reason behind was given by the Turkish television TRT: “Just enter ‘Turkey’ in Google and you’ll find a weird combination of pictures, articles and dictionary definitions, mixing up the country with a big bird living in North America”. So, Turkey wants the world to say “Turkiye”. Even if the pronunciation of “Turkiye” might be somehow awkward for non-Turkish speakers…

The plan to replace, at least on an international level, the name “Turkey” by “Turkiye” seems to be serious. The national air carrier “Turkish Airlines” has already published a marketing video using the name “Turkiye”, but the change will take a long time. People are used to say “Turkey” when they talk about Turkey and it’s hard to believe that from now on, people will say “Turkiye”. Even if Mr. Erdogan wants us to do so.

Is it the Erdogan daydream of a new Ottoman Empire which could not be taken seriously when called like a bird? And what’ll happen to those who persist saying “Turkey”? Will they be punished in Turkey? Put in jail? Flown out of the country?

For Mr. Erdogan, things are simple. “Turkiye expresses best the culture, civilization and values of the Turkish nation”, he said. Given his utmost strange behavior concerning Europe, Russia and the Middle East, one might ask what kind of values “Turkiye” reflect. But anyway, given the current context, there won’t be too many western tourists heading for Turkiye this year. Tourists will mainly come from Russia and we do not know how Turkey will be called in Russian… “Turkiye” as well?

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