File this under lost in the news over the holidays: Turkey is no more.
The Middle Eastern country officially changed its name in December to Türkiye (when the English spelling is used). The decision was made to better reflect the culture and traditions of the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a circular in early December making the change to preserve the values that come from the deep-rooted history of the Turkish nation, TRT World reported.
“The phrase Türkiye represents and expresses the culture, civilization and values of the Turkish nation in the best way,” the circular says. “In this context, the phrase ‘Made in Türkiye’ is now being used instead of ‘Made in Turkey’ on our export products, which are the pride of our country in international trade.”
The nation’s tourism group has already rebranded its website as goturkiye.com.
The circular said the change reflects thousands of years of experience. The English word means land of the Turks, and the phrase Türkiye dates back to the 14th century.
“Another valuable step has been taken to strengthen the Turkish brand,” the country’s director of communications, Fahrettin Altun, said of the name change.
The move is not a surprise since the Turkish Exporters Assembly began using Made in Türkiye on its labels starting in January 2020.
There may be another reason for the change. As TRT World points out, English searches for information about “Turkey” bring a plethora of results not associated with the country.
“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,” TRT World reported.
Looking it up in the dictionary, turkey will also get results that include “a stupid or silly person” or “something that fails badly.”
While not a common practice, name changes by countries are not as rare as imagined.
Most recently, the Netherlands dropped Holland as an alternate name in 2019. In 2018 Macedonia became North Macedonia, and in 2016 the Czech Republic announced a change to Czechia.