The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared that still ”there are people who want to see Istanbul as Constantinople,” on Saturday.
Erdogan was participating in the series of public spectacles and events which Turkey organizes every year on the occasion of the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Speaking in front of people who attended a public prayer in Istanbul on Saturday, the Turkish President said, among other things, ”this is Istanbul, also known as Islam-bul, this is not Constantinople!”
Erdogan added that ”some people want to see Istanbul as Constantinople again, but we have twenty-two days to fight against those people!”
The Turkish president was making an indirect attack on mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu, who is competing against Erdogan’s favorite Binali Yıldırım. The on-again, off-again elections will take place on June 23, because the first elections, which brought İmamoğlu into the lead by a narrow margin, were cancelled.
The great city of Constantinople, established in 330 AD by the Roman Emperor Constantine, was built on top of the ancient Greek city of Byzantium.
After its fall to the Ottoman forces in 1453, its name was converted to Istanbul.
Even the name ”Istanbul,” however, which the Turkish President seems to prefer, derives from the Greek phrase ”Is tin poli,” which means “into the city.”
Throughout the centuries, Greeks referred to Constantinople as simply ”The City” (”I Polis”), so each time someone was going to Constantinople, he or she would say ”Is tin poli” — a phrase which morphed into the modern term ”Istanbul.”