+64 27 211 3455
Where did Turkey get it’s name? Did Ataturk give it, or borrow it? What’s the connection (if any) with Turkmenistan?
Turkey was named for the Turks, believe it or not. Turk can mean either “a citizen of the modern state of Turkey” or more broadly, “an individual of the Turkic-speaking people.” The many Turkic languages are spoken not only in Turkey but also in a large area of central Asia and in northern Siberia. The real question is the origin of the name Turk. The word is essentially the same in many languages, including English, Turkish, Arabic, and Persian (Farsi). It probably comes from some Turkish root, but there’s no consensus on which one. It may be one root meaning “strong” or “vigorous” (according to the American Heritage Dictionary) or it may be another meaning “the people” (according to the Encyclopedia Americana).
There are a couple of other theories of how the country got its name, both wrong. The first has it that the country was named after the first leader of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. But like most Turks, Mustafa didn’t have any surname at all until 1934, when he chose Atatürk (“Father of the Turks”) for himself. He had already given the country its western-influenced name Türkiye several years earlier. During the period of the empire, the Turkish name for the country had nothing to do with the Turks. Rather, it was named for the Osman (Ottoman) dynasty that ruled it. Another theory has it that the English named the country after the bird, as a taunt. But the country was already called “Turki” or “Turkeye” in English by 1275, hundreds of years before the bird was known in the Old World.
I have always wanted to know a Turkish person, aside from my local Kebab friends, who I could say “atta Turk” to whenever they did something good; instead of saying “atta boy” or “atta girl.” Historians in the near vicinity would find me very humorous.
wy are you interested in this topic?
A poet called Glen asked me, so I asked the Internet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.