Why does Turkey want everyone to call them Türkiye?

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaJan 10, 2023 | 08:00

Why does Turkey want everyone to call them Türkiye?

The Cambridge dictionary defines Turkey as "something that fails badly". Photo: dailyO

Since 1923, when the Ottoman Empire fell and the Turkish Republic was formed, the Turkish people have called their country 'Türkiye', pronounced as 'tur-key-YAY'. On December 4, 2021, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a Presidential circular calling for exports to be labelled 'Made in Türkiye'. This campaign has made noise all over the world, and finally, after a years, US will also start spelling the country Türkiye.  

Photo: Made in Türkiye logo

What's happening now? 

  • The US State Department has said that it will largely stop writing the word Turkey and instead call the Eurasian country Turkiye, agreeing to a request by the Turkish government. 
The Turkish Embassy did request that we use this spelling in our communications.
- State Department spokesman Ned Price 


  • Price also said that it will take some time for the department's website and communications to reflect the new spelling.

The name change comes six months after the United Nations agreed to recognise Türkiye in June 2022, when Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu formally asked for the change in a letter to the UN. 

Why do the Turkish people don't like the name Turkey? The Cambridge dictionary defines turkey as "something that fails badly" or "a stupid or silly person."  And now, turkey has become a slang for many, meaning the same.

It doesn't end here: Google results will show you, a "muddled set of images, articles, and dictionary definitions that conflate the country with the bird - which is famous for being served on Christmas menus or Thanksgiving dinners." 

Photo: Google search of the word 'Turkey' (See for yourself)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pushed for the name in 2021, when he launched a global rebranding drive. The drive was followed with campaigns, videos and a complete rebranding of the country; with even a "Made in Türkiye " label. He urged the rest of the world to accept his country's original name rather than the anglicised one.

Photo: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Some believe that this is a very successful campaign which could improve the country's name and brand image. However, others believe that it is more of a publicity stunt by the government, since it was launched during the month of December, at a moment of surging inflation and a growing economic crisis.

Whatever the reason, some still believe that changing the name over a bird was a little too much!

FYI: The bird turkey is not called turkey in Turkey. It is called 'Hindi' -- or 'from India' (or Hindustan).

Last updated: January 10, 2023 | 08:00
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