Türkiye by decree

Woe to him who utters the name of Turkey in vain! There are politicians who, not content with changing the face of their nation and their cities, also rename them. And then there are those who, unable to change much, limit themselves to the latter. Closer to the former than to the latter, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decreed that Türkiye, the Turkish name for Turkey, will be used abroad in all languages ​​by its official bodies. “We will strengthen the Türkiye brand,” insists the decree, which has already circulated in all its chancelleries. So “goodbye Turkey, Turkey, Turchia…”. Or Turkey.

Indeed, its official website in Spain is already run with the tongue twister “República de Türkiye. Turkish Embassy. The Turkish news agency Anadolu has also been using this form since January in its dispatches in different languages, as has the multilingual channel TRT.

Türkiye as a brand image wants to displace other denominations, such as Turkey, Turkey or Türkei

Unconvincingly, the official media claim that Erdogan is only following in the footsteps of, for example, the Association of Turkish Exporters, which has been using Türkiye for a few years. The trick more or less works in English, where the umlaut does not exist and the resulting Turkiye is spontaneously pronounced the same as the correct form.

None of this happens in most of the world’s languages, including our own, which seems to make proponents of the idea careless. “From now on, it will be Made in Türkiye”, promises Erdogan.

It must be said that this love for the original name of place names is not bidirectional and in Turkish they will continue to refer to Almanya, Ispanya, Yunanistan (Greece), etc.

Without a doubt, one would have to be very snobbish to start writing Türkiye in our language, Istanbul style. Although nobody believed that Constantinople would become a museum denomination, like Angora, renamed Ankara in the 1930s.

Not to mention there are legion of media who ran out of time to write Myanmar instead of Burma, Belarus instead of Belarus or Calcutta and Mumbai instead of Calcutta and Bombay, throwing deep-rooted names overboard.

It went further precisely to India, where Narendra Modi took over, transforming Allahabad into Prayagraj or Gurgaon into Gurugram.

Just as Scarlett O’Hara swore she would never go hungry again, Turkey swore never to be “turkey” again.

Although in India, by the way, no one complained that in Turkish the turkey is called Indian -“Hindi”, due to its origin in India- as in Catalan or French. Nor does Peru mind that its name in Portuguese means “turkey” (also in the languages ​​of India, before “turkey” was imposed).

But let no one believe that a hypothetical change of government in Turkey in 2023 will mean a return to reason. The opposition displays an even more inflamed nationalism. Let them tell the mayor of the provincial capital of Bolu, who is determined to collect the immigrants’ water, electricity and gas bills in dollars. That is thirteen times more expensive than in liras.

The Turkish opposition, in any case – like that of India – accuses its leaders of distracting the population from the real problems with the fireworks and the culture wars.

In the case of Turkey, the sharp depreciation of the lira over the past year accelerated in the last quarter. This led one of the most important ambassadors in Ankara – if not the most – to predict the imminent downfall of Erdogan.

To his great astonishment, the Turkish President pulled out of his sleeve, on Christmas Eve, a deposit guarantee system in liras and the currency stabilized. “And without removing the zeros”, points out a diplomat.

The Turkish state is sheltered from the stagnation that could herald the collapse of its currency and high inflation. For example, last year it solved 1,467 of the 1,468 recorded murders. By making an appointment to be vaccinated the same afternoon of the requested day. But most Turks don’t want a lot of money. They stick with chicken.

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