US changes spelling favored by Turkey at ally request

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department said Thursday it had adopted Turkey’s preferred spelling of country namesTurkiye, after several months of hesitation, complied with the request from the NATO allies.

The ministry has instructed new official documents to refer to Turkiye instead of Turkey, but the pronunciation will not change, officials said. But neither the State Department’s website nor the diplomatic manual that guides U.S. diplomatic practices has been revised to reflect the change as of noon Thursday.

The move comes ahead of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevrut Cavushoglu’s planned visit to Washington later this month. Russian invasion of Ukraine and reluctance to tolerate Finland and Sweden join NATO Be at the top of the agenda.

Several other federal agencies, including the Treasury Department, had already adopted the new spelling, creating discrepancies in documents across the U.S. government.

The change came as the State Department released a statement supporting the Treasury Department’s move to impose sanctions on Turkey-linked businessmen and companies that support the Islamic State. It was later confirmed by two department officials.

Turkey requested at an international forum last year to change its name to Turkiye, and most institutions, including the United Nations and NATO, have switched to the new spelling.

But the State Department doesn’t often change the style of foreign names, and in at least one notable case has refused to do so for decades.

The United States still refuses to call Burma Myanmar, but the country’s military rulers formally adopted it in 1989.

The last two countries the State Department renamed at the request of the government were North Macedonia, which changed its name from Macedonia in 2019, and Eswatini, which changed its name from Swaziland a year earlier.