Turkey officially changes its name to Türkiye at United Nations

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Turkey will henceforth be known as Türkiye at the United Nations, following a formal request from Ankara. President Erdogan has long pushed for using the Turkish language name rather than the English one associated with a bird and failure.

Turkey has told the UN, at the behest of its president, that it wished from now on to be called "Turkiye" in all languages, the UN announced Thursday.

"The change is immediate," said Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief's spokesperson.

On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavasoglu tweeted a photo of himself signing the letter, addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"With the letter I sent to the UN Secretary-General today, we are registering our country's name in foreign languages at the UN as 'Türkiye'," he wrote, including an umlaut accent over the "u".

He added that the change would bring to an end the process of "increasing the brand value of our country", an initiative started late last year by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Türkiye is the best representation and expression of the Turkish people's culture, civilization, and values," Erdogan said in December.

Negative connotations

Over the past few years, the country has sought to change the branding on its products from "made in Turkey" to "made in Türkiye". The latter will feature on all exported products.

In January, the country luanched a tourism campaign with the slogan "Hello Türkiye".

In addition to making the UN's nomenclature match the Turkish spelling, the update would also help distinguish the country from the bird of the same name in English, associated with Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving.

The name of the bird, turkey, does indeed hail from the country Turkey since guinea fowl – first imported to Europe via Turkey – were known as turkey-hens. The name was then used for the larger bird from the Americas.

State broadcaster TRT, which made the change as soon as it was announced last year, said that in addition to the bird connection, one of the meanings offered in the Cambridge English Dictionary was "something that fails badly" or "a stupid or silly person".

"The name change may seem silly to some but it puts Erdogan in the role of protector, of safeguarding international respect for the country," Georgetown University professor Mustafa Aksakal was quoted as saying in The New York Times.

Critics see the move as a distraction ahead of next year's presidential election.

Seven other countries have changed their names. Among them: the Netherlands dropped Holland in 2020 and Swaziland became Eswatini in 2018.

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