My next adventure: (Turkey) Türkiye and the Caucasus

posted in: Plans, Turkey and the Caucasus 2022 | 0

What do you do when you’ve been writing about your upcoming trip to Turkey, and now it turns out you’re going to Türkiye?

First off, does it even matter that they’ve changed the name? As of yesterday, “Türkiye” has been officially recognized by the United Nations as the name of the country formerly known as “Turkey.” But that doesn’t mean the new name will replace the old in other contexts. So far Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Mapquest are still using the old name (though by the time you click on any of those links, things may change). And here’s a screenshot from the “Turkey” article in Wikipedia:

Countries change their names from time to time. It’s not so rare. Most recently Macedonia changed to North Macedonia, Burma changed to Myanmar, and Swaziland became Eswatini.

There’s some concern that the new name “Türkiye” has the letter ü, a letter that doesn’t exist in English. And it’s going to take time for the new name to become widely adopted. Wikipedia will likely make the change if and when the new name takes hold in common English usage. I guess you could draw parallels with Peking becoming Beijing, Rhodesia becoming Zimbabwe, and the Gold Coast becoming Ghana. All of these new names, quickly or eventually, became commonly used in English, replacing their old names. (Except, maybe, that no one orders Beijing Duck in Chinese restaurants.)

You can read the Wikipedia discussion if you want. As with most internet debates, people get pretty worked up…

Perhaps I should take my cue from Wikipedia and wait to make changes in my blog until they adopt the new name.

What do you think?

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