When the birds were brought on ships to Europe, many named the trading ships “Turkey ships” due to the ships coming from the Turkish empire. By the time the bird had reached England for the first time in 1524, the birds were being called “turkey birds” as the birds were thought to come from the country of the same name!
Within a decade, the turkey had become so popular in Europe (many were domesticated) that the name entered the English language as just the turkey. William Shakespeare mentions the bird in his play The Twelfth Night dating to 1601: “O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkey- 30 cock of him…”
However, not all languages gave turkeys their name because of the ships. The Hebrew language calls turkeys “tarnagol hodu” which translates to “chicken of India”! They believed, much like many other people of the time, that the New World explorers of the West (England) had found paths to the East (India)!