Turkey name change: What does it mean for exporters?

Aug 4, 2022

Turkey officially changes name at UN to Türkiye

Turkey’s government has sent a letter to the United Nations formally requesting that it be referred to as Türkiye, the state-run news agency has reported.

The move is seen as part of a push by Ankara to rebrand the country and dissociate it from the bird of the same name and negative connotations associated with it.

Anadolu Agency said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson to UN secretary general António Guterres, confirmed receipt of the letter from Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the Turkish foreign minister. The agency quoted Dujarric as saying that the name change had become effective “from the moment” the letter was received. Dujarric told the Washington Post: “It is not uncommon for us to receive such requests.”

The change to Türkiye has a sound historical basis. Land areas occupied by present-day Turks were known by various names over the centuries, including Asia Minor, Anatolia and eastern Thrace. But Turkey formally became the Republic of Türkiye (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti) after independence in 1923, following the abolition of the Ottoman sultanate. Its centenary will fall next year.

In December 2021, Erdoğan ordered the use of Türkiye to better represent Turkish culture and values, including demanding that “Made in Türkiye” be used instead of “Made in Turkey” on exported products. Turkish ministries also began using Türkiye in official documents.

Erdoğan is said to have wanted rid of a westernised, anglicised name that jarred with his neo-Islamist, nationalist-populist brand. In Ankara, as elsewhere, identity is everything. More prosaically, it is suggested the word turkey conjured up unwelcome images of Thanksgiving dinners and the Christian feast of Christmas. Worse, in American slang, a turkey is a silly, foolish person.

The government this year released a promotional video as part of its attempts to change its name in English. The video shows tourists from across the world saying “Hello Türkiye” at famous destinations.

The Turkish presidency’s directorate of communications said it launched the campaign “to promote more effectively the use of ‘Türkiye’ as the country’s national and international name on international platforms”.

It was not clear whether the name, with a letter that doesn’t exist in the English alphabet, will catch on widely abroad. In 2016, the Czech Republic officially registered its short-form name, Czechia, and while some international institutions use it, many still refer to the country by its longer name.


Question:

Following the official change of name of Turkey, is there anything we need to action to support this? Will all the trade agreements and forms have to be updated with the new name? Is the ISO country code staying the same?

Answer:

It was finalised at the UN on 2 June 2022 that Turkey will be officially renamed Türkiye. The UN code doesn’t change, but exporters from Türkiye will have to confirm that goods are “made in Türkiye”, rather than Turkey.

We also assume, at this stage, that the trade agreements and forms will be amended but have seen nothing official from HMRC or EU Commission.

More information about exporting to Türkiye:

UK-Turkey trade agreement – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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