Turkish Flag

The fundamentals of the Turkish Flag were laid down by Turkish Flag Law No. 2994 of 29 May 1936. Turkish Flag Regulation No. 2/7175 dated 28 July 1937, and Supplementary Regulation No. 11604/2 dated 29 July 1939, were enacted to describe how the flag law would be implemented. The Turkish Flag Law No. 2893 dated 22 September 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. Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) published the official standards, color codes and materials to be used for Turkish flag on 30 November 2006 (ICS: 59.080.30).

The measurements of the Turkish Flag:
Dimensions of Turkish Flag
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 centers of the inner and outer circles of the crescent 0.0625 G
D = Diameter of the inner circle of the crescent 0.4 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 1,5 G
M = Width of the seam band 1/30 G
Color Red: Pantone 186 c / CMYK (%) C0 - M90 - Y80 - K5 / RGB:227-10-23

Current law on the Turkish flag

Law #2893, adopted on 22 September 1983, published in the Official Gazette on 24 September 1983 No. 18171, Series 5 Volume 22, page 599

Article 1 - The purpose of this Law is to identify the principles and procedures about shape, construction and protection of the Turkish flag.

Shape and Construction of the Flag
Article 2 - The Turkish flag shall be a red flag with a white moon - star which is in the shape and proportions shown in the attached table. The standards, the fabric and material of the making of the flag and special flags (symbolic flags, special signs, pennant, ship's pennant and official flag) are shown in the charter.

Hoisting and Lowering the Flag
Article 3 - Flag shall be hoisted on public associations and foundations and their abroad representatives, sea vehicles of public foundations, real and judicial persons. It shall be hoisted on vehicles of the authorities in and out of the country. Hoisting and lowering of the flag shall be done with ceremony. Making of the ceremony in appropriate way shall be under the responsibility of the authorized chief in that place. The Turkish flag shall be hoisted on national holidays and general holidays, starting from holiday start and ending in the sunset of the end of the holiday. (A recent modification of the law changed this rule. The flag shall now be hoisted on the official buildings all the time). Permanent hoisting of the flag, the closed places in which the flag shall be placed, the places where the flag shall be used as background, the way of hoisting the flag in private places, the schedules and subjects about hoisting of the flag on the vessels of the Turkish Armed Forces and Turkish merchant ships are shown in the charter.

Flying the flag at half staff
Article 4 - The Turkish flag shall be flown at half staff as a sign of mourning on November10. (Note: November 10 is the anniversary of the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1938, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey). The other instances and time of flying the flag at half staff shall be announced by the Prime Minister.

Saluting the flag
Article 5 - The flag shall be saluted when hanging and lowering or during transfer of power ceremony.

Places that can be covered with flag
Article 6 - The coffins of former Presidents, martyrs and other civilians or soldiers who are identified in the charter; the statues of Atatürk in opening ceremonies and the desks in official oath ceremonies can be covered with the Turkish flag. In addition, the ways and places of usage of the flag according to national customs and traditions are shown in the charter.

Article 7 - The Turkish flag shall not be used as torn, unraveled, patched, with holes in it, dirty, faded, wrinkled or in a situation that will bruise its spiritual value. Except for official oath ceremonies it shall not be used on desks and podiums as a cover for any purpose. It shall not be put on places where people sit or stand. The shape of the flag shall not be made to these places and similar things. It shall not be worn as a dress or uniform. Any political party, organization, society, club, association or foundation other than the public associations and those foundations that are determined in the charter shall not use the flag on their emblems, pennants, symbols or similar things that will form base or background on either side. The Turkish Flag shall not be insulted or shown disrespect by speech, writing, action or any other means. The flag shall not be torn, burned, thrown or used without care. Any action that is against this law and the charter shall be prevented and relevant investigation shall be performed.

Article 8 - Making, selling and using flags that is against this law and the charter is forbidden. The flags that are done against this prohibition shall be collected by the local authority. People who behave against the rules of this law shall be penalized according to Article 526 of Turkish Penal Code if their crime does not require a heavier punishment.

Article 9 - The matters that are said to be prescribed in the charter and other principles concerning the application of the present law shall be shown in the charter that will be prepared within six months after publication of the present law.

Abrogated Law
Article 10 - The Law on Turkish Flag dated May 29,1936 (#2994) shall be abrogated.

Article 11 - This article shall become valid after six months of its publication.

Article 12 - The articles of the present law shall be enforced by the Council of Ministers.

Meaning of the flag

It's very difficult to explain the real meaning of a flag; there are legends, actual stories, and outright misinformation about the reason of certain colors or designs were put on national flags. Also individuals may have their own interpretation of their own national flag. Religious symbolism can also be expressed via color, such as the crescent moon which is a traditional Islamic symbol.

Historical facts:
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 Ottoman Sultan Selim III, when the green flags used by the navy were changed to red and a white crescent and multi-pointed 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 by Ataturk. Many traditions explain the star and crescent symbol. It is known that Diana (Artemis) was the patron goddess of Byzantium and that her symbol was a moon. In 330 AD, 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 Kosovo 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 19th 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 Sultan in which a crescent and star appeared from his chest and expanded, presaging the dynasty's seizure of Constantinople (Istanbul). There are also other legends explaining the flag.