Turkey will henceforth be known as Türkiye (at least in the UN)

Turkey has a new name, at least in the United Nations. The organization agreed to recognize him as Türkiye after a request from the country’s government, which has been working to rename the nation’s name since last winter.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu formally requested the change in a letter this week to the UN and other international agencies.

“The process we have started under the leadership of our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to increase the brand value of our country needs to be finalized,” Cavusoglu said. tweeted tuesdayaccording to a translation of Overview of the Balkans.

On Wednesday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told state-run Anadolu Agency that the name change took effect upon receipt of the letter.

The country’s rebranding campaign began in December – during a time of rampant inflation and a deepening economic crisis – when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a memorandum asking other countries to use Türkiye’s name. .

Domestically, he also ordered that products for export be labeled “Made in Türkiye” and that state agencies use the name in official documents, according to Al Jazeera.

“Turkey is the best representation and expression of the culture, civilization and values ​​of the Turkish people,” Erdogan said at the time.

The country was called Türkiye – which is pronounced “tur-key-YAY” – after its declaration of independence in 1923, notes the Associated Press. Much of the Turkish public already recognizes this name, although the anglicized version is also commonly used inside the country.

In January, the country launched a tourist campaign called “Hello Türkiye”, with a video showing tourists saying the phrase from different sites across the country. State broadcaster TRT World said the aim of the campaign was “to announce and raise awareness around the world about the use of the country’s original name”.

Turkish officials and state media suggest that there are several reasons behind the push for the country to be internationally recognized as Türkiye – including strengthening its identity and distancing itself from certain associations (and research findings) less flattering.

TRT World listed two in December, pointing out that the Cambridge Dictionary defines Turkey as “something that fails badly” or “a stupid or foolish person”.

And if you type the word into Google, he added, “you’ll get a confusing array of images, articles and dictionary definitions that confuse the country with Meleagris – otherwise known as turkey, a large bird native to North America – which is famous for being served on Christmas menus or Thanksgiving dinners.”

Although Turkey’s disambiguation problem may be unique, it is not uncommon for countries to change names.

There are myriad historical examples, including Persia which became Iran and Siam which became Thailand. And more recently, in 2020, the Dutch government started renaming the country to Netherlands instead of Holland.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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