Istanbul: Turkey is renaming the street on which a new US Embassy is being built after the black Muslim civil rights leader Malcolm X, according to a Twitter post by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin.
The Ankara municipal assembly decided unanimously to rename the street after an order from Erdogan, Haberturk TV reported. The Turkish president met Malcolm X’s daughters in New York during a United Nations General 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. After a Twitter post by the United Arab Emirates foreign minister that appeared to criticisze an Ottoman Turkish military commander, Fahreddin Pasa, Turkey renamed the UAE embassy’s street after him. And the current US Embassy’s street was renamed “Olive Branch Road” in February, a reference to the Turkish military operation in Syria against the Kurdish YPG, a group allied with the US but which Turkey views as a terrorist organisation.
In response to US President Donald Trump’s comments when he proposed a Muslim immigration ban in his campaign for the presidency, Erdogan also demanded that Trump’s name be removed from signs around Trump Towers in Istanbul. His name remains on view, but last month the Istanbul municipal assembly voted to remove it from the metro underpass leading to the Trump complex.