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Flag of Turkey.svg
Use National flag and ensign National flag and ensign
Proportion 2:3
Adopted May 29, 1936
Design A red field with a white crescent moon and five-pointed star slightly left of centre. Pantone 186 Red - RGB (227, 10, 23)

The flag of Turkey (Turkish: [Türk bayrağı] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) is a red flag with a white crescent moon and a star in its centre. The flag is called Ayyıldız (moon-star) or Albayrak (red flag). The Turkish flag is referred to as Alsancak (red banner) in the Turkish national anthem.

The star and the moon are two sky elements symbolizing the Tengriist beliefs of the sky-worshiping ancient Turks. In Turkic Mythology four colors are associated with four cardinal directions such as "gök-blue" (east), "ak-white" (west), "al-red" (south) and "kara-black" (north). These colors represent the direction towards the zenith where the Tengri is residing in the sky. Red and white colors on the flag of Turkey symbolize the south-western branch of Turks called Oghuzes who are the founders of present-day Turkey as well as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Gagauzia. Black Sea and Turkish/Qırımtatar names of Mediterranean (Akdeniz) got their name from the same mythology; Karadeniz being in the north and Akdeniz being in the west respectively. Turkestan's flag is similar to Turkey's, with only difference being blue.[1][2][3]

The flag uses the same symbols of the former Ottoman flag, adopted in 1844 with the Tanzimat reforms, but the shape, placement and shade of the colour vary. The geometric proportions of the flag were legally standardised with the Turkish Flag Law in 1936.


Presidential Standard
Turkish flag made of flowers.

The current design of the Turkish flag is directly derived from the late Ottoman flag, which had acquired its final form in 1844.

Ottomans used several different designs, most of them featuring one or more crescents, for different purposes, such as the flag with green background signifying the caliphate. During the late imperial period, the distinctive use of the color red for secular and green for religious institutions became an established practice.

In 1844, the eight-pointed star was replaced with a five-pointed star and the flag reached the form of the present Turkish flag; Red was the colour of Umar I, the Caliph who ruled from AD 634 to 644 and was known as a great consolidator of the Islamic Empire. In the 14th century red became the colour of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Flag's crescent moon was thicker than its current design.[citation needed]

Star and crescent

The origin of the flag is the subject of various legends in the country, some contradicting the historical knowledge about the Ottoman Flag.

File:Gokturks coin.png
The 1500-year-old coin includes three crescent moon figures having a star near a person (Tegin), possibly a Turkic Khaganate leader of Turgesh era.[4] It has been recently found in 2004 in Bishkek.

The crescent moon and star were holy symbols for ancient Tengriist Turkic people, while red was the cardinal colour for west in ancient Turkic culture. In Turkish tradition, red also represents hegemony, while white represents power, justice, exaltation and purity. Göktürks, an ancient Turkic people who lived in Central Asia used crescent and star on their coins. A 1500 years old Göktürk coin includes three figures of a crescent moon and a star around the possible figure of a leader.[citation needed]

There's a saying that after the Battle of Kosovo -1389, Sultan Murad visited the battle field, and all he saw was a field all in red because of the blood and the star next to it. Some say the Sultan Murad was in tears with the scene right before his eyes, and the reflection of the moon and the star in the bloody field inspired the idea for the flag of the victorious Ottoman Empire.

Depiction of the Mamluk flag with a star and crescent symbol (14th-century illustration from a manuscript of the History of the Tatars)

Legendary origin

Historically, in accounting for the crescent and star symbol, Ottomans sometimes referred to a legendary dream of the eponymous founder of the Ottoman house, Osman I, in which he is reported to have seen a moon rising from the breast of a qadi whose daughter he sought to marry. "When full, it descended into his own breast. Then from his loins there sprang a tree, which as it grew came to cover the whole world with the shadow of its green and beautiful branches." Beneath it Osman saw the world spread out before him, surmounted by the crescent.[5]

Legal basis

Fundamentals of the Turkish flag were laid down by Turkish Flag Law No. 2994 on May 29, 1936. Turkish Flag Regulation No. 2/7175 dated July 28, 1937, and Supplementary Regulation No. 11604/2 dated July 29, 1939, were enacted to describe how the flag law would be implemented. The Turkish Flag Law No. 2893 dated September 22, 1983, and Published in the Official Gazette on September 24, 1983, was promulgated six months after its publication. According to Article 9 of Law No. 2893, a statute including the fundamentals of the implementation was also published.


Circular section.
Turkey flag const.png
Scientists created the smallest flag in the world (700 nanometers wide and about 2 nanometers high), produced at the Bilkent University Nanophysics Department.
Letter Measure Length
G Width
A Distance between the centre of the outer crescent and the seam of the white band 1/2 G
B Diameter of the outer circle of the crescent 1/2 G
C Distance between the centres of the inner and outer circles of the crescent 1/16 G
D Diameter of the inner circle of the crescent 2/5 G
E Distance between the inner circle of the crescent and the circle around the star 1/3 G
F Diameter of the circle around the star 1/4 G
L Length 1 ½ G
M Width of the white hem at the hoist 1/30 L

The above specification is what is given by Turkish Flag Law. Note that this implies that the distance between (the left edge of) the inner circle of the crescent and a vertical line connecting the two pointed ends of the crescent is 279/800 G = 0.34875 G; thus, the left point of the star protrudes with about 0.0154 G beyond that line.

A common mistake in rendering the flag is to omit the white hem at the hoist (the left side).

Notes and references

  1. "Ahmet Yesevi Üniversitesi". 2010-07-19. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  3. Fevzi Kurtoğlu, Türk Bayrağı ve Ay Yıldız, Page 49
  4. Babayar, Gaybullah. The Catalogue of the Coins of Turkic Qaghanate. 1st ed., 244 pages, Ankara, TIKA, 2007.
  5. Lord Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire, Morrow Quill Paperbacks, 1977, pp 23-24.

External links

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