Since last November there have been reports in both the local and national Turkish media
about proposals to change the name of world famous Kaya Village to Kayı.
Name change referendum
According to the Turkish press, results of research into Ottoman archives has culminated in a local resident,
Eren Gemi Eroğlu, applying for the name to be changed.
Speaking with Turkish media he said, “I applied for the name to be changed because the current
name is historically incorrect, just as we applied for the Keçiler neighbourhood to be changed to the Karakeçiler.
Now the decision has been made for Kayaköy’s name change to go to a referendum.”
He also stated that Kayaköy was originally an Ottoman Turkish village,
suggesting that the name Kayaköy was an erroneous spelling introduced only relatively recently.
The referendum is reportedly to take place on 30th March.
What’s in a name?
For foreigners the changes may at first seem inconsequential but for those involved
the changes have a much deeper implications.
While Kaya simply means rock, Kayı is the name of the historic Turkic ‘Kayı’ tribe.
Similarly, Karakeçiler is also the name of another Turkish tribe, so the name changes
can be said to have its roots in nationalist identity.
‘No problem’ for tourism
The Turkish ‘ı’ (a flat sound sometimes referred to as “unrounded u”), makes it difficult
for anyone unused to the language to pronounce.
However, Eroğlu dismissed any doubts that the switch would cause problems for the tourism industry.
“The town is known as Kayaköy to everyone living in Turkey, but foreigners know it as Livissi…
I do not think this will pose a problem for the tourism sector,” he added.
Fethiye’s representative of the Nomadic and Turkmen Association, Ramadan Kıvrak said that research
revealed a connection with the valley to the Ottomans dating back more than 500 years,
and it was this research that revealed the different spellings.
Allegedly, Keçiler, has already been changed to Karakeçiler, following a meeting.