Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu sent a letter to the United Nations (UN), as well as other international agencies, formally requesting that his country be referred to as Türkiye.
The Turkish government press agency stated that Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General António Guterres, confirmed receipt of the letter on June 1. The agency quoted Dujarric as saying the name change was effective “from the moment” the letter was received.
The move is seen as part of a push by Ankara, the country’s capital, to rebrand and disassociate its name from the English word Turkey, which also means “turkey” and therefore could take on a negative connotation. The country called itself Türkiye in 1923 after its declaration of independence.
One possible explanation for the similarity in names lies in the guineafowl being related to the Turks who exported them to Europe from East Africa. In England, the bird was called the Turkish chicken, while the colonists of the United States baptized it as Turkey (Turkey/Turkey).
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has been pushing for the internationally recognized name “Turkey” to be changed to “Türkiye” as it is spelled and pronounced in Turkish. Last December, Erdoğan mandated the use of “Türkiye” to better represent Turkish culture and values and demanded that “Made in Türkiye” be used instead of “Made in Turkey” on exported products.
Earlier this year, the government released a promotional video showing tourists from around the world saying “Hello Türkiye” at famous destinations, as part of its attempts to change its English name. Turkish news channel TRT World argued that it prefers its country to be called Türkiye “according to the country’s goals to determine how others should identify it.”
Other nations that have changed their names in recent history include North Macedonia in 2019, formerly known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as the Netherlands, which dropped the name Holland in 2020. “Holland” now simply refers to the Netherlands. North and South, two of the country’s twelve provinces.