ANKARA (AP)–Turkey is renaming three indigenous animals to eliminate references to Kurdistan and Armenia–the Environment and Forestry Ministry announced Friday–saying the old names were given by foreigners with designs on the country’s unity.
A species of red fox known as "Vulpes Vulpes Kurdistanica" will now be known as just "Vulpes Vulpes," a species of wild sheep called "Ovis Armeniana" was changed to "Ovis Orientalis Anatolicus," and a type of deer known as "Capreolus Capreolus Armen’s" was renamed "Capreolus Cuprelus Capreolus," a ministry statement said.
"Unfortunately–foreign scientists–who for many years researched Turkey’s flora and fauna–named plant and animal species that they had never come across before with a prejudiced mind-set," the statement said. "Unfortunately–there are many species in our country that were named in this way with ill intent. This ill intent is so obvious that even species that are endemic to our country were given names that are against our unitary structure," the statement added.
The ministry said the new names were chosen through scientific research. It was not clear why Turkish authorities have waited until now to change the names. It was also not clear if the name changes would be internationally recognized.