Now it’s Türkiye, not Turkey at the United Nations

What’s in a name? A great deal, if Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is to be believed. His years-long quest to change his country’s moniker to Türkiye (pronounced Tur-key-yay) had reached a successful conclusion when the UN gave its official blessing. “Türkiye is the best representation and expression of the Turkish people’s culture, civilisation and values,”

The change to Türkiye has a sound historical basis. Land areas occupied by present-day Turks were known by various names over the centuries, including Asia Minor, Anatolia and eastern Thrace. But Turkey formally became the Republic of Türkiye (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti) after independence in 1923, following the abolition of the Ottoman sultanate. 

Erdoğan is said to have wanted rid of a westernised, anglicised name that jarred with his neo-Islamist, nationalist-populist brand. In Ankara, as elsewhere, identity is everything. More prosaically, it is suggested the word turkey conjured up unwelcome images of Thanksgiving dinners and the Christian feast of Christmas. Worse, in American slang, a turkey is a silly, foolish person.

Many leading world cities have rebranded, too, reflecting old roots and shifting identities. New York was once New Amsterdam.  St Petersburg was Petrograd and Leningrad in between. Bombay is Mumbai. Constantinople, formerly Byzantium, now goes by the less exotic name of Istanbul, which brings us back to Tur-key-yah.

based on an article in The Guardian

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