Turkey wants to change its name to avoid confusion with festive bird

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he plans to change his country’s name to Türkiye.

He said it is the ‘best representation of the Turkish people’s culture, civilisation and values’.

The United Nations will now address the country by its new name after receiving a request from the country’s leadership earlier this week.

Other international organisations are also expected to be asked to make the change as part of Erdogan’s proposed rebrand which began in December.

A month later, a promotional video titled ‘Hello Türkiye’ was released to ‘raise global awareness about using the country’s original name’. 

Meanwhile the state broadcaster TRT World, which airs programmes in English, is reported to have explained the transition in an article.

It said that searching ‘Turkey’ online generates ‘a muddled set of images, articles, and dictionary definitions’.

It said: ‘[They] conflate the country with Meleagris – otherwise known as the turkey, a large bird native to North America – which is famous for being served on Christmas menus or Thanksgiving dinners.

‘Flip through the Cambridge Dictionary and “turkey” is defined as ‘something that fails badly’ or ‘a stupid or silly person’.

Turkey’s planned move away from its Anglicised spelling makes it the latest country to change its name, after the Netherlands scrapped its nickname of ‘Holland’ in January 2020.

The Netherlands comprises 12 provinces, but only two make up Holland.

A spokesperson for the foreign ministry told the EFE news agency: ‘It is a little strange to promote only a small part of the Netherlands abroad, that is, only Holland.’

Other recent changes include Macedonia officially becoming North Macedonia following a dispute with Greece, and the African kingdom of Swaziland changing its name to Eswatini – both of which took place in 2018.

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