Turkish Footballer Calls Istanbul Constantinople

Kenan Ozer, the 31-year-old player who stirred the outcry across Turkey. Photo from Ozer’s personal Twitter account

Kenan Özer, the 31-year-old member of the Ankaragücü football team, caused a widespread outcry in Turkey after calling Istanbul its Greek Byzantine-era name of Constantinople.

Özer, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet daily, wrote on his personal Instagram account that “The conquest of Constantinople has been successfully completed. Thank God,” referring to a football match that took place in the city.

After receiving hundreds of negative comments by Turkish users of the social media platform, Özer turned his account private, hiding the posting.

The city of Istanbul, between Europe and Asia

Turkey’s largest city has a long history of changing its name. It was called Byzantium by the ancient Greeks, Constantinople by the Romans, and Konstantiniyye after the city fell under Ottoman rule.

The city was officially renamed Istanbul after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in the early twentieth century, and since then it has been globally recognized by that name.