A new motto, mascot, or even flag color are just some of the ways governments strive to rebrand themselves on a global scale.
But a spelling change? That’s an odd circumstance.
Regardless, this is the new strategy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He wants to transform the way travelers, businesses, and governments around the world think about his nation, Turkey (or Türkiye).
Turkey‘s government requested that the United Nations (UN) change the country’s name to Türkiye last week (2 June) (pronounced tur-key-YAY).
Erdogan ordered in December 2021 that the slogan “Made in Türkiye” be featured on Turkish exports, as well as the use of the term “Türkiye” in government papers.
What, though, is the motivation for the change? Is it a result of a cultural resurgence, or is there something more at work?
Is there a change in the culture?
Erdogan has long advocated for the changing of the internationally recognised name ‘Turkey’ to ‘Türkiye,’ as it is spelled and pronouned in Turkish.
The Turkish government stated in December that the rebranding was intended to “preserve and celebrate our nation’s culture and values.”
TRT World, Turkey’s English-language public broadcaster, has formally changed its name to ‘Türkiye,’ while some presenters still use the word ‘Turkey.’
It suggested that Turks prefer the name ‘Türkiye’ because it is more “consistent with the country’s goals of choosing how others should recognise it.”
Following its declaration of independence in 1923, the country was dubbed Türkiye.
Turkey’s official site for international visitors is now branded as GoTürkiye.com, making tourism one of the first sectors to undergo active rebranding.
The Turkish government released an English-language promotional video early in 2022 in order to promote the name change.
Tourists from the United States (US) and Asia are seen in the film exclaiming “Hello Türkiye” at well-known locations throughout Turkey.
Do you have any turkey in the house?
However, the second connected meaning of the phrase Turkey appears to be the elephant in the room. Yes, exactly. Gobble gobbling gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble go The bird of the turkey
Turkey has stated that it wants to avoid links with the huge bird that it believes are negative and unflattering.
First and foremost, let’s talk about the basics. Is it the turkey or the country that arrived first?
Despite being native to the United States, the turkey was called after the country of Turkey because it resembled the guinea fowl, which was carried from eastern Africa to Europe via the Ottoman Empire.
Guinea fowl were dubbed “turkey-hens” by Europeans during Ottoman times since they were imported from the Turks’ homeland.
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Imported Turkeys from North America were mistakenly labeled as Turkeys due to their resemblance in appearance.
Do you think it has a bad ring to it?
Ankara seeks to eliminate some of the negative connections with Turkey in addition to better portraying Turkish culture and values.
In a 2021 article, TRT World explains why.
“A muddled set of images, articles, and dictionary definitions that 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 at Thanksgiving dinners,” it said, referring to a search for “turkey.”
“Turkey” is defined as “anything that fails miserably” or “a dumb or silly person” in the Cambridge Dictionary, the network added.
According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, a UN spokesman acknowledged that the rebranding was effective “from the moment” the request was made.
However, it is unclear whether the name, which includes a letter that does not exist in the English alphabet, will be popular outside of the United States.
While several international institutions use Czechia, the Czech Republic’s short-form name was formally registered in 2016, and many people still refer to the country by its full name.