Turkey has been making headlines globally since yesterday when a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit the country and left at least 3,419 people dead. The trail of destruction followed in Turkey’s neighbouring country Syria where at least 1,602 people lost their lives. The casualty numbers are increasing as rescuers dig through the rubble.
Condolences and support poured in for the affected people across the globe. From US President Joe Biden to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, world leaders tweeted to express their condolences and also offer help following the earthquake which was the region’s strongest quake in nearly a century.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Turkiye and Syria. I have directed my team to continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkiye and provide any and all needed assistance.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 6, 2023
But what caught people’s attention is the name of the country they referred to in their tweets– some used “Turkey” while others “Türkiye" (with or without umlaut over “u"). The majority of international media also used “Turkey" in their reports on earthquakes. This left people confused and wondering if some leaders actually made spelling errors in their tweets.
The reports and images from Turkey and Syria are devastating. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by these major earthquakes, and our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones. Canada stands ready to provide assistance.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 6, 2023
Turkey’s Name Change in 2022
The “Republic of Türkiye” changed its official name from “The Republic of Turkey” on May 26, 2022, in a request submitted to the UN Secretary-General by the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Following the decision, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged the international community to recognise “Turkey” by its Turkish name “Türkiye” (pronounced Tour-key-yeh). “The word Türkiye represents and expresses the culture, civilisation, and values of the Turkish nation in the best way," Erdogan had said.
The move was seen as an attempt of the Erdogan government to rebrand the country, dropping the long-standing anglicised version that was often confused with the famous Thanksgiving animal and the negative connotations associated with it.
ALSO READ: Turkey Earthquake ‘Predicted’ by a Dutch Expert 3 Days Ago, Is This Possible? Explained
History of ‘Türkiye’
The country was called Türkiye in the Turkish language and it adopted this name after declaring independence from Western powers in 1923. However, the anglicised version “Turkey” was adopted globally even as the people of the country continued to use the name Türkiye.
“Over the centuries, Europeans have referred to firstly the Ottoman state and then to Turkiye by many names. But the name that has stuck most is the Latin “Turquia" and the more ubiquitous “Turkey”," TRT World, the Turkish public broadcaster reported.
“Flip through the Cambridge Dictionary and “turkey" is defined as “something that fails badly" or “a stupid or silly person," it said.
However, in Türkiye’s name, people occasionally stumble over the guttural “ü” sound and use “u" instead of an umlaut over the “u" in the spelling.
Read all the Latest Explainers here