If you’re heading to Turkey, then it may be best for you to brush up on your history. Specifically, the history of the Turkish flag. Where did it come from anyway?
What do the symbols and colors represent? The truth is, the flag has a rich history that’s full of conflict and triumph. On top of the history, there are tons of little fundamentals that you’ll need to know before visiting the country.
Let us help you get up to date. Keep reading to learn more about the fundamentals you need to know, as well as get a brief overview of the history of the Turkish flag and the origin of its symbols.
1. Where Do the Star and Crescent Come From?
The star and crescent were initially a symbol of the Ottoman Empire. Even so, it didn’t start getting used until the last half of the 18th century. Up until the second half of the 18th century, the flag went through many changes.
For one, it wasn’t always red. In the 14th century, the flag was white. In the 15th century, it was red, but it didn’t stay this way. At one point, it was three white crescents on a green background.
The three crescents were thought to symbolize the influence of Islam on the three major continents.
2. Other Countries that Use a Crescent and Star
Turkey isn’t the only country that has used or is using the crescent and star on their flag. By the 20th century, Algeria, Tunisia, and Azerbaijan were are all using the crescent and star symbols on their flags. They still use them to this day.
The reason for this could be rooted in the fact that they were all successor states of the Ottoman Empire. Other places that use these symbols are Mauritania and Pakistan.
3. How the Turkish Flag Looks Today
Today’s flag isn’t so much different from the Ottoman version that it came from. The star and crescent shapes are slightly thinner.
They’re also working on a system of direct dimensions. These dimensions became law back in 1936 and are still in effect.
4. Battle of Kosovo
There are many different legends that are said to have influenced the overall look of the flag. One of these legends stems from the Battle of Kosovo.
A little background information; the Battle of Kosovo occurred in 1448. It was a battle between Lazlar, a Siberian prince, and the Ottoman sultan Murad I. The battle ended in a victory for the Ottoman Empire.
It’s said that when one of the commanders was looking about the wartorn field, they saw a reflection of the star and crescent in a pool of blood. This is where the flag gets its striking red color.
5. Ottoman Sultan’s Dream
There’s a second legend that has to do with a dream the first Ottoman Sultan had. The sultan wished to marry the daughter of the judge of the Shari’a court. In this dream, the moon and star symbol ventured out of the judge’s chest and into the chest of the sultan.
Once the symbols reached the sultan’s chest, a large tree with billowing branches came to life and engulfed everything in a shadow.
6. Are They Symbols of Islam?
The star and crescent symbols on the flag are thought to be representative of Islam, but their origins go back a little further than that. How far back, you ask?
To the people of Siberia and Central Asia. They worshiped gods associated with the moon, sun, and sky. The symbols had something to do with each of them in one way or another.
7. Goddess Diana
Diana was the goddess over the hunt, wild animals, domestic animals, and she’s a fertility deity who helps women through conception and childbirth. The symbols in the flag are thought to honor her in some way.
Theory dictates the city of Byzantium (which would eventually become Istanbul) picked out these symbols to use because of Diana.
8. Fundamentals of the Flag
There are certain fundamentals that are associated with the flag. For one, if a flag becomes old or torn, it must be taken down and replaced with a fresh new one. The flag can not be sat or stepped on for any reason.
The flag must be hoisted at schools and other official buildings not only on holidays but on the weekends as well. On Monday mornings, students gather and salute the flag.
9. The Dream
We talked a little about the first Ottoman sultan’s dream above, but we’re going to go into a bit more detail. In 1453 the city of Constantinople was overtaken by the Ottoman Empire.
When this happened, the empire decided to use the symbols in the sultan’s dream because they were thought to be a good omen.
10. Proud of It
Every single building has at least one flag on the premises. The only buildings where it’s always raised are the Parliament building and the Mausoleum of Ataturk. However, you can see it at almost every street in the country as we, Turks, are simply proud of it.
The Turkish military uniforms all have a flag patch on them. These patches are worn on their right shoulder or the front of the uniform.
Surprising Facts About the Turkish Flag
If you’re heading to Turkey, you want to learn at least a little bit about history. The history of the Turkish flag to be more specific.
There are many legends and theories of where the symbols and color came from, but one thing never changes—the power of the nation which it represents.
Do you want to see the flag up close and personal? Contact us to schedule or ask about a tour.