Talking Türkiye

President Erdoğan yesterday renamed his nation Türkiye, in what is clearly not an attempt to distract from the ongoing economic collapse he created last Autumn.

He’s not the first to try a rebrand. It was very popular during the decolonising period of the late 20th century, but even recently, we’ve seen Swaziland become eSwatini.

Erdoğan’s reason for rebranding was because his nation gets confused with the bird that people eat at Christmas (except not actually in Turkey, because they mostly aren’t Christian.)

Turkey changes its name to Türkiye to avoid confusion with bird of same name
Confused yet?

But that bird has a lot of names, mostly toponyms (or placenames.) In other words, we call the bird turkey, but Turks call the bird Hindi (after India), as do a whole load of languages including Armenian, Hebrew, Polish and Ukrainian.

A bunch of other languages call it after the Indian city of Calicot, for some similar reason. What’s confusing about all of this is that turkeys don’t come from Turkey or indeed India. They come from America.

I suppose we should give Portuguese some credit for getting the hemisphere correct at least. The bird is called Peru in Lisbon!

What undermines Erdoğan’s argument somewhat is that you simply don’t see Peruvians or their government getting upset because some Portuguese people call a bird after their country. I’ve not heard the Indians complaining either.

But perhaps the best thing would be to agree a universal name for the bird in all languages that accurately reflected its origins. I suggest yanks would be appropriate.

“More roast yank, mum?””Don’t mind if I do, dear! Lovely dinner!”