President Joe Biden on Tuesday expressed his condolences for the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria via a tweet that read, “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.”

Social media users were triggered by Biden’s use of romanized Türkiye and not Syria, one user tweeted, “If you used romanized name for Turkey, why don’t you use it for Syria too? It’s Sūriyā btw.” Another user backed Biden and stated “Türkiye declared to be used original name in international relations. If Syria had such a request, it could be so. What’s your point.?”

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In December 2022, Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that “Türkiye is the best representation and expression of the Turkish people’s culture, civilization, and values.” The majority of Turks already refer to their country as Türkiye. However, even within the country, the anglicized form Turkey is widely used.

TRT, the state broadcaster, was quick to make the change after it was announced last year, explaining that the association with the bird traditionally associated with Christmas, New Year’s, or Thanksgiving was one of the reasons for the image rebrand. It also mentioned that one of the meanings of the word is “something that fails badly” or “a stupid or silly person,” according to the Cambridge English Dictionary.

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As part of the rebranding, “Made in Türkiye” will appear on all exported products, and a tourism campaign with the catchphrase “Hello Türkiye” was launched in January. The move has elicited a mixed reaction online. While government officials support it, critics say it is a waste of time as the president prepares for elections next year in the midst of an economic crisis. It happens frequently for nations to rename themselves.

In a rebranding effort, The Netherlands dropped Holland in 2020. Prior to that, Swaziland changed its name to Eswatini in 2018, and Macedonia changed its name to North Macedonia as a result of a political conflict with Greece. Iran was formerly known as Persia, Thailand is currently known as Siam, and Rhodesia was renamed Zimbabwe earlier in time.