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Turkey or Türkiye?

FILE - People sit at Kugulu public garden decorated with national flags and images of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, June 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
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Goodbye, Turkey. And say hello to Türkiye.

Last May, Turkey requested that the United Nations officially recognize its name as Türkiye.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, "The word Türkiye represents and expresses the culture, civilization, and values of the Turkish nation in the best way.”

Erdoğan also ordered that “Made in Türkiye” be used instead of “Made in Turkey” on exported products. Turkish government agencies also began using “Türkiye” in official documents.

Türkiye is how the country’s name is pronounced in Turkish. However, the English version of Turkey has been widely used around the world and even inside Türkiye.

In the mid-1980s, then-Prime Minister Turgut Ozal tried to change the country’s name without success.

Some people consider the move part of a push by Turkey, or Türkiye, to distance itself from the bird traditionally served on the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Also, some people might feel insulted that the word “turkey” can be defined as “a stupid, foolish person” in English dictionaries, including ones from Merriam-Webster and Cambridge.

The U.N. and many international organizations have since used Türkiye in place of Turkey. But it may take some time before people get used to calling the country Türkiye.

In 2016, the Czech Republic officially called itself Czechia. While some international organizations use the name, many people still refer to the country as the Czech Republic. It continues to be recognized as the long-form name of the country and continues to be used on the websites of the Czech government and the Czech embassy in Washington, D.C.

I’m Dorothy Gundy.

Hai Do adapted this report for VOA Learning English with additional reporting from The Associated Press.


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