Turkey Renames Road to U.S. Embassy for Malcolm X, Nixes Trump’s Name From Another Street

Illustration for article titled Turkey Renames Road to U.S. Embassy for Malcolm X, Nixes Trump’s Name From Another Street
Photo: AP

The country of Turkey is unexpectedly running in tandem with many majority black communities in the U.S. by naming a street after our gone-too-soon shining black prince, Malcolm X.

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On Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin made the announcement that the street leading to the U.S. embassy in Turkey will be named “Malcolm X Road,” echoing U.S. streets like Lenox Avenue in Harlem, N.Y., which is also known as “Malcolm X Boulevard.”

Bloomberg reports:

The Ankara municipal assembly decided by a unanimous vote to rename the street after an order from Erdogan, Haberturk TV reported. The Turkish president met with Malcolm X’s daughters in New York during a United Nations assembly meeting, it said, calling Malcolm X a symbol of “the struggle against racism.” He was assassinated in 1965.

Turkey has in the past used the naming of streets housing diplomatic missions to make political statements, says Bloomberg.

The current U.S. embassy road was renamed “Olive Branch Road” in February in reference to a Turkish military operation in Syria against the U.S.-aligned group, Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as a terrorist organization.

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And after President Donald Trump initially proposed what has been termed a “Muslim ban,” Erdogan demanded that the U.S. president’s name be removed from signs around Trump Towers in Istanbul.

Last month the assembly voted to remove Trump’s name from the metro underpass leading to the Trump complex.

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Allahu Akbar.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

DISCUSSION

Hoyo Afrika

Growing up in Holland, I came across a lot of Turks. The thing about them was their unceasing nationalism, some of them were border-line or outright fascists (see Grey Wolves). This meant that there was no room to discuss the Turkish state’s maltreatment of Kurdish populations.

Whenever a leader in the Middle East or North Africa finds themselves at odds with the president of the United States, they make some appeal to black Americans. See the strange case of Qaddafi promising to arm the Nation of Islam in the 1980's to overthrow the US government. Meanwhile, black Africans in Libya are treated like shit.