What Did Turkey Used to Be Called in Ancient Times?

Turkey, the transcontinental country located in both Europe and Asia, has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. The region that we now know as Turkey has been home to various civilizations throughout history, each leaving its own mark on the land and people. In this article, we will explore what Turkey was called in ancient times.

The Land of Anatolia

The earliest known civilization in Anatolia was the Hittites who lived in the region around 1600 BCE. They referred to their land as “the land of Hatti” or “Hattusa”. Later on, during the time of Ancient Greece, Anatolia was referred to as “Asia Minor” or “Small Asia”.

The Byzantine Empire

During the Byzantine Empire, which lasted from 330 CE to 1453 CE, Turkey was known as “Anatolikon”, meaning “the land of the rising sun”. The Byzantine Empire considered Anatolia a crucial part of their empire due to its strategic location between Europe and Asia.

The Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire ruled over Turkey from 1299 CE until its dissolution after World War I. During this period, Turkey was referred to as “Ottoman Empire” or simply “Turkey”. The word ‘turkey’ is believed to have originated from the French word ‘Turquie’, which means Turkish.

Modern-Day Turkey

After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded modern-day Turkey and renamed it as such. The name ‘Turkey’ comes from ‘Türkiye’ which means ‘Land of Turks’.


In conclusion, what Turkey was called in ancient times depended on who ruled over it at that particular time. From “the land of Hatti” during the Hittite Empire to “Anatolikon” during the Byzantine Empire, to “Ottoman Empire” during the Ottoman era and finally to modern-day “Turkey”. The names might have changed throughout history, but Turkey’s rich cultural heritage and strategic location between Europe and Asia have remained significant.