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Monday, January 24, 2022

Erdogan ventures into semantics with a rebrand for ‘Türkiye’

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A new slogan, a new mascot, even a new shade in your flag can be ways to rebrand how your country is perceived to other nations. But a change of spelling is quite unusual.

Nevertheless, this is Erdogan’s new plan to frame the country he leads in the minds of tourists, businesses, and governments alike.

In a government press release last month, Erdogan said that “the phrase ‘Made in Türkiye’ will begin to be used instead of ‘Made in Turkey’ in our export products.”

The critically-inflated Turkish Lira has seen uproar from the public and some might say the time was right to refocus the nation on changes that “preserve and glorify the culture and values ​​of our nation,” as the press release states.

Whether people are duly satisfied with this move or not, it appears to also have its roots in associated meaning. That’s right. Gobble, gobble. The Turkey.

The association is unflattering, and actually entirely unnecessary since the birds are native to North America. It was in fact the Guinea Fowl that was exported from eastern Africa via the Ottoman Empire to Europe.

Back in Ottoman times, Europeans called guinea fowl ‘turkey-hens’, because it came to them from the land of the Turks.

And just because they looked a bit similar, imported Turkeys from North America were labelled as Turkeys out of sheer familiarity.

Tourism is one of the first sectors to see the active rebrand, the site now being known as GoTürkiye.com.

The Turkish government intends to use the new term in “all kinds of activities and correspondence, especially in official relations with other states and international institutions and organisations.”

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