Over the past century, many countries throughout the world have changed their names due to political conflicts, marketing or for the sake of clarity, among other reasons.
Now, people on social media claim Turkey is the latest country to do so by changing its name to Türkiye. Google Trends data also show people are searching for whether the country has a new name and how to pronounce it.
Has the country Turkey changed its name to Türkiye?
Yes, the country Turkey has changed its name to Türkiye.
WHAT WE FOUND
In December 2021, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan issued a statement announcing the change of the country’s recognized name from Turkey to Türkiye (pronounced tur-key-YAY), according to the presidency’s director of communications. The new name is required in correspondence with other states, international institutes and organizations, and export products, Erdoğan said.
The country has since launched a “Hello Türkiye” campaign, which has garnered promotion from social media influencers around the world, Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun said. A promotional video shared in January 2022 is part of that campaign.
Türkiye’s name change has also been recognized by the United Nations.
In a letter sent to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on May 26, Türkiye Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu requested that the organization inform United Nations entities and member states on the use of the Republic of Türkiye, or Türkiye for short, as the country’s new official name in English.
The country's name in its native Turkish remains unchanged.
Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesperson for Guterres who provided VERIFY with the letter, said in an email that “the changes were effective immediately regarding the name plates,” and “websites are in the process of being updated.”
So why did Turkey decide to change its name? There are likely several reasons.
TRT World, a Turkish news channel that broadcasts in English, reported in December 2021 that the country adopted the name Türkiye in 1923 after declaring independence from the Ottoman Empire. But other people outside of the country have referred to it by many names over the years and “Turkey” is the one that stuck.
The word “turkey” also has some negative connotations associated with it. It’s defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as “something that fails badly” or a “stupid or silly person” – which TRT World made note of in its reporting.
“Type ‘Turkey’ into Google, and you will get 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 Thanksgiving dinners,” the article reads.
Altun said in January that leaders believe the name Türkiye should be used “in the international arena in order to further strengthen our country’s identity, brand and reputation.”
“Türkiye is no longer merely a consumer country; it is also a producer country. Türkiye is not a country to which definitions are attributed; it is a country that produces definitions,” he added later.
It’s not uncommon for countries to change their names, either, Dujarric said. In 2019, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia became the Republic of North Macedonia. Swaziland became Eswatini one year earlier. Other countries that have changed their names include the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nepal.