According to Bloomberg News, news of the street rename came by way of a tweet made by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin. The Ankara municipal assembly unanimously decided upon the name change after an order from the president, according to Haberturk TV.
— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) October 14, 2018
President Erdogan reportedly met with one of Malcolm X’s daughters while in New York during a United Nation’s assembly meeting. The meaning behind the name change is because Erdogan thinks Malcolm X best represents “the struggle against racism.”
This isn’t the first time Turkey has renamed a street where diplomatic buildings are housed to express a political agenda. In February, the road leading to the U.S. embassy was once called “Olive Branch Road” following the Turkish military operation in Syria against the Kurdish YPG; a group allied with the U.S. but one Turkey deems a terrorist organization.
However in response to Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban while he campaigned and after he became president, Erdogan demanded Trump’s name be removed from signs in Istanbul around Trump Towers. Trump’s name still remains within view, but the Istanbul municipal assembly voted to remove it from the metro underpass leading to the building.