This Week In Vexillology #298

We're back! November was consumed by beating Book 3 into shape and so I didn't do much in the way of blogging, but now it's Saturday and we're back on the TWIV-Train with two more flags from the strange and kind of formally recognized world of separatist movements and sub-national autonomous regions.

First up, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus:
If you're thinking to yourself, 'hey, that looks a lot like the flag of Turkey' well, you'd be correct because without the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, there wouldn't be a Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. I can't even remember which class it was an undergraduate where I wrote the paper on Cyprus, but I do know that learning about this conflict was one of the most interesting things I've ever done. I didn't realize that Cyprus was a divided island and that Nicosia was Europe's last divided capitals.

So why the invasion back in the day? Well the TL;DR of it all is that after the military coup in Greece, there was a burgeoning movement- supported by the Greek junta for enosis or union with Greece and so naturally, they launched a coup in Cyprus, which Turkey wasn't about at all, so they invaded. (It's also worth noting that Turkey had aspirations for taksim, or dividing the island between Turkey and Greece.) What was left were ghost cities and the upper third of the island forming the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus while the rest of the island remained Cyprus.

The design of the flag is literally just the Turkish flag with the colors reversed and two red stripes added at the top and the bottom.

Next up, Kurdistan:
Okay, confession time: I love this flag- in fact, if I had the opportunity to actually buy one for whatever reason, I probably would. I love the fact that it leans away from the pan-Arab colors of green-red-white-black that seem so ubiquitous in the designs of the region and the sun is such a unique feature amongst flags of the region that it makes this flag stand out from a lot of other flags in the Middle East.

The flag was first raised during the Ararat rebellion against Turkey in 1928- it was presented to European leaders at Versailles, but that didn't really do the Kurds a lot of good thanks to Mr. Sikes and Mr. Picot. The Republic of Kurdistan was proclaimed again in Iran in 1947- but didn't go anywhere- and finally, the Kurdistan region of Iraq adopted the flag for use as it's official flag.

Happily for our purposes, it's packed with symbolism to break down. The sun has 21 rays which is a venerated number standing for rebirth in the native Kurdish religion of Yazdanism. The red in the flag stands for the blood of martyers and the struggle for freedom and dignity. Green stands for beauty and the landscapes of Kurdistan, life and vitality. Yellow is for the source of life and light of the people- the sun is ancient symbol and the sunbeams also represent March 21st, Newroz.  The white stands for peace and equality.

And that's the flags of Kurdistan and Northern Cyprus! Remember, until next time keep your flags flying, FREAK or otherwise!

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