The iconic Turkish flag is made of a red background dominated by a white star and crescent and is often referred to as al bayrak (“the red flag”) or al sancak (“the red banner”). Its history dates to the late-18th century and though it went through several changes, its present-day design was finalised in 1844 during the reign of the Ottoman Empire.
The design has a fascinating history. Though often considered to be Islamic symbols, historians believe that the crescent was used as a religious symbol in the Middle East, particularly in the city of Byzantium which celebrated the moon goddess, Diana. Later the star was added to the crescent when Constantine I made Christianity the Roman Empire’s official faith. Others believe in the legendary story that Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, saw a moon rising from the father of a daughter he sought to marry.
During the late-18th century, the flag was originally established for the navy, so it was easily recognisable, though the star had eight points instead of the five it has today. After the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, they maintained the same red and white flag, with standardisations introduced to Turkish law 13 years later in 1936.