Turks rush to change embarrassing names

More than 105,000 people have applied to change their names after the Turkish government granted a one-off chance this year to make it easier for people to change misspelled and embarrassing names, the Guardian reported on Wednesday.

In Turkey, changing a name is generally a lengthy process that involves expensive court procedures. Therefore applications made to civil registry offices to have escalated as the window of opportunity closes next year. 

“A total of 30,344 people have applied to change their first name, usually to correct misspellings – amending the woman’s name “Rabiye” to “Rabia” is the most popular request, followed by the male name “Ümit”, alternatively spelled “Ümüt”,” the Guardian said. 

Satılmış (sold), along with Koyun (sheep), Çakal (jackal) and Deli (crazy), are the most common surnames requested to be changed, while Çıplak (naked), Dana (calf), Kör (blind) and Ördek (duck) are also among surnames people want to get rid of. 

There are also people whose first names and surnames together have humorous meanings, like Rahmi Yaman (womb-slasher) or Güven Kurtul (get rid of trust).

People in Turkey chose surnames in 1934 as part of reforms following the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. But many of the surnames chosen at the time proved to be embarrassing over the years, or were recorded with spelling mistakes.