Monday, December 10
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7 Problems Having a Turkish name

Growing up a Turk in another country you quickly get used to everything that comes with it – good and bad.

Having hundreds of cousins, being told you have put on weight from your grandparents, never being able to say your full – the list goes on.

But one problem that stays with you your whole life is the problem of having a Turkish name.

Don’t get me wrong Turkish names are amazing and the best in the world (I am bias – sue me) however when it comes to the rest of the world trying to get your attention by calling your name – that’s where the problem starts.

Anyone called Ali or Mehmet probably can’t relate to this but for the other 30% of us Turks that don’t have that name, you will understand.

From the second you start school you can even tell when your name comes up on the register as your teacher will pause and really concentrate trying to get your name right.

As you get older and start working (those that are lucky to not have the family business thrown at them) then you get work mates getting your name wrong.

Here are 7 problems with having a Turkish name which I am sure you can relate to:

1. No one can pronounce your name
A pretty obvious problem that you quickly get used to. No matter where you go you will always hear various variations of your name. you hear it so much that you are more used to hearing the variations than your own name.

2. The Famous 2nd look at customs
If you have travelled anywhere apart from Turkey & Cyprus, then you will be very familiar with the famous 2nd look at customs. The immigration officer’s face when he sees a middle name like ‘Osman’ or ‘Ali’ is unforgettable.
If his eyes could speak they would say “are you related to bin laden?” All you can do is smile and act happy.

Passport control

3. You have to think of an English alternative
Just accept that they will never get your name so think of an alternative .e.g.
Metin = Martin
Deniz – Dennis
Ali – Ali

4. Word association
With a name like Eray you get used to hearing about 15 alternatives so the trick I have is to create a word association to help people. Be prepared to constantly have to repeat this word association. Here’s mine:
Air & Rye = Eray

5. You always get asked “you must get annoyed when people get it wrong”?
Yes I do, and do you know what the 2nd most annoying thing is? Being asked if I get annoyed!

6. Knowing you will never get picked to come to the front of the class
In a way this isn’t a problem, it’s more of a benefit. When the teacher would call someone up randomly to the front of the class, you always knew you was ok as the teacher didn’t want to embarrass themselves by getting your name wrong.


7. Knowing you will never be able to buy one of those novelty name keyrings
It’s a sad fact but you need to just accept that you will never find one for yourself or anyone in your family unless you get it especially made.

However for some reason every time you see them for sale, something tells you to check just in case by some miracle they have started making ethnic names.


These are just a selection of problems us Turks have. If you have any others, please let me know and I will be happy to add them to the list!



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  1. And the 8th (which applies to me and some others): Turks hearing you speak Turkish and are surprised and shocked when they find out you’re Turkish because you look either English, Irish, German, Czech, Polish, Dutch, etc…

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