Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Obama's flap over Turkey's name may prompt name change for nation

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is said to be considering changing his country’s name after US President Obama confessed that he had confused the Eurasian nation of 72 million people with the large bird that Americans eat at Thanksgiving.

The two leaders met at the G20 summit in Mexico last week. When introduced, Obama looked confused, saying “Turkey?” and shaking his head blankly before excusing himself to go to the toilet.

I'm the leader of Turkey the country, not the bird, Erdogan explains to Obama.
 Later, the two leaders found themselves seated together in the G20 canteen during the lunchbreak. Over jacket potatoes, Obama apologised to Erdogan, confessing that he occasionally became “confused” by the country and the bird of the same name.

As they stood to leave the US president suggested that Erdogan think about changing the name of his country. Obama is renowned for his amusing quips but Erdogan, not known for his sense of fun, nodded and wrote the suggestion down in his notebook.

Our G20 Gusset News insider overheard the Turkish president discussing potential names with Australian PM Julia Guillard at breakfast the next day. Guillard suggested “Turkmenistan” but a quick Google revealed that this name was already taken, as was Wales, Spain and Nigeria.

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