Last modified: 2002-07-20 by ivan sache
Keywords: turkey | asia | europe | crescent (white) | star (white) | name | nickname | construction sheet |
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by Zeljko Heimer
Flag in use since 1844 and officially
adopted 5 June 1936, coat of arms adopted in 1927.
Description: Red flag with a white crescent and star.
Use: on land, national, civil and war flag, on sea, national, civil and war ensign, and naval jack.
Colour approximate specifications (as given in Album des Pavillons [pay00]):
Risk of confusion with: Tunisia.
On this page:
Meaning of flags is a difficult topic, especially when flags are very ancient. There is usually sparse historical evidence and a lot of legends. Moreover, individuals may have their own interpretation of their national flag. Concerning Turkey, I found the following in the authoritative books of W. Smith ([smi75c] & [smi80]):
"Red has been prominent in Turkish flags for 700 years. The star and crescent are Muslim symbols, but also have a long pre-Islamic past in Asia Minor. The basic form of the national flag was apparently established in 1793 under Sultan Selim III, when the green flags used by the navy were changed to red and a white crescent and multipointed star were added. The five-pointed star dates from approximately 1844. Except for the issuance of design specifications, no change was made when the Ottoman Empire became the Republic of Turkey and the caliphate (religious authority) was terminated. Many traditions explain the star and crescent symbol. It is known that Diana was the patron goddess of Byzantium and that her symbol was a moon. In 330, the Emperor Constantine rededicated the city - which he called Constantinople - to the Virgin Mary, whose star symbol was superimposed over the crescent. In 1453 Constantinople was captured by the Ottoman Turks and renamed Istanbul, but its new rulers may have adopted the existing emblem for their own use"
"A reflection of the moon occulting a star, appearing in pools of blood after the battle of Kossovo in 1448 [the battle during which the Ottomans defeated the Christian forces and established the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Europe until the end of the XIXth century], led to the adoption of the Turkish flag by Sultan Murad II according to one legend. Others refer to a dream of the first Ottoman Emperor in which a crescent and star appeared from his chest and expanded, presaging the dynasty's seizure of Constantinople. At least three other legends explain the flag."
Ivan Sache, 20 January 1999
We, Turkish people, call our flag ay yildiz (moon star).
Resat Erel, 20 June 1999
by Zeljko Heimer
The construction sheet is given in a book on Turkish flags
The book is in Turkish, 170 pages, with some 30 colour plates of historical and current flags and some B/W photos. It might be that the construction is taken from the flag law which is quoted in full in the book.
The above image is based on the construction sheet in the book, adapted slightly to make it better looking as digital image. Base unit is the flag width and other dimensions are expressed through it. The center of the circle forming the crescent is half flag width from the hoist, with diameter of the same (i.e. radius 1/4 as indicated on image). The inner circle forming the crescent have radius of 1/5 and is offset towards fly 0.0625 (1/16) [the book actually give number 0.625 here, but that must be printing error as it would make no sense!]. The two circles intersect forming the "indentation" of the crescent to be 1/3. The fivepointed star is inscribed in a circle with diameter 1/4, tangenting the line connecting the intersections of the two circles. The construction sheet also gives the width of the white heading on hoist (not shown on my GIF) as 1/30 of the flag width.
Zeljko Heimer, 2 March 1999
In a book [vht94] issued by the VDCN (March 1994) is the same construction sheet. In the accompanying table, the white heading on hoist is given as "Width of the seam band".
Mark Sensen, 8 March 1999
The very same construction sheet already appeared in the Flaggenbuch (1939-1941) [neu92]
Ivan Sache, 1 October 1999