Turkey, flag

UN accepts Turkey’s request to change the country’s name

UN has confirmed that it will use the word “Türkiye” instead of “Turkey”, as part of the name change promoted by Ankara.

The UN has accepted Turkey’s request to change the country’s official name to “Türkiye” (its name in Turkish), after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu confirmed on June 1 that he had sent a letter to the United Nations requesting formally the change: a new international denomination that the Ankara government itself has been promoting for months with the “Hello Türkiye” campaign.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, confirmed that the UN had received the letter sent by the Turkish foreign minister, adding that the requested change in Turkey’s official name has come into effect “from the very moment ” in which the letter was received by the organization.

The initiative is not new, but is one more step in the campaign launched by the Turkish government for months to promote the use of the country’s name in Turkish (Türkiye, used since the Republic’s declaration of independence in 1923), instead of “Turkey”, name of the country in the English language used internationally, and that Ankara wants to stop using because the word “turkey” in English has other meanings with negative connotations.

Since December 2021, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan decreed that the word “Türkiye” should be used in official documents and institutions, and a campaign was launched to promote the change also in exports, for example by replacing the famous phrase “Made in Turkey” for “Made in Türkiye”. In early 2022, a promotional video showed tourists from around the world using the word “Türkiye” instead of “Turkey”, “Turkei”, “Turquie” or “Turquía”.

Public channels such as TRT World, which broadcasts in English, have also joined the name change campaign using “Türkiye” instead of “Turkey”, remembering that the name is easily confused in English with “turkey”, a word that designates the bird that is served as a meal at Christmas or Thanksgiving in the United States, and that the Cambridge Dictionary defines as “something that has many faults” or “a stupid or idiotic person”.