Turkey to change its name at the UN

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The Turkish government is planning to change its internationally recognised official name in English to Türkiye by registering it to the United Nations in coming weeks, two Turkish officials told Middle East Eye. 

The government could change the name with a simple notification to the UN registry but the letter “Ü”, which isn’t in the nominal Latin alphabet, could be a problem. Türkiye means Turkey in Turkish. 

One senior Turkish official said Ankara hadn’t discussed the “Ü” issue with the UN yet, but the source was hopeful that a solution could be found. Some observers said one such remedy could be using “U” instead of “Ü” in the new name. 

“The exact timing for the name change is still under consideration by the government,” one senior Turkish official told MEE. “But the process is ongoing.” 

A UN spokesperson told MEE that Turkey had contacted them on the prospective name change. 

“The Turkish Permanent Mission has got in touch with UN Protocol to check about the procedure to communicate a change of country name in case this change happens, but we had not received any official communication,” the spokesperson said. 

The name change drive began in December after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a memorandum and asked the public to use Türkiye to describe the country in every language. 

“Türkiye is accepted as an umbrella brand for our country in national and international venues,” Erdogan said. “Türkiye is the best representation and expression of the Turkish people’s culture, civilization and values.” 

Erdogan, in the same memorandum, advised companies to use “made in Türkiye” instead of “made in Turkey” for their exported goods. And he also instructed the state agencies to use Türkiye in their correspondence, especially with international organisations, instead of Turkey, Turkei and Turquie. 

Initially, the Turkish public hadn’t known how seriously to take the initiative. However, publicly funded news networks quickly followed the government’s lead.