I was once asked to describe Turkish people and I had no hesitation in my answer; Turks are patriotic. The most obvious sign of their patriotism is the display of the Turkish flag, a red background with a white moon and star.
Teenage boys about to depart for compulsory military service will often, drape the flag over a car before riding around town, beeping the car horn loudly. They are proud to be embarking on training and survival techniques, should they need to join their fellow compatriots in protecting the borders of their country.
Public holidays also provide a colour festival of red and white, as flags cover both sides of main streets. However, as a foreigner, you do not have to wait for a special occasion or public holiday to see the Turk’s admiration for their flag.
Turks are Patriotic
Where do they display the flag? Let’s see!
Got yourself a pet camel? Stick a flag on it
Out walking in the middle of nowhere and you think that bridge looks boring. Hang a flag from it
Come across an old and derelict castle that is not used anymore. No worries, stick a flag up..
Bought yourself a little dinghy boat? Don’t forget the flag!
The best one of them all though; while driving in the east, I even spotted the symbols carved into the mountainside with the words Önce Vatan ( translates into “before homeland” but means “country first”)
Origins of the flag vary, depending on whom you speak to, diving the truth between a connection to Ottoman flags or a resemblance of a bloody battlefield with the reflection of the moon and a star shining down.
Irrelevant of how the design came to be, one thing is certain and that is along with the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the flag has the highest respect of its people.
You will never see a proud Turk place the flag on the floor and as a foreigner, be sure to avoid any incident in which you damage the flag or a representation of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Such actions are likely to see you kicked out of the country faster than a drunk atheist out of a church of god.
What do I Think of the Turkish Flag Displays?
I have mixed feelings. It is heart-warming to see a nation with so much pride in its heart, however at the same time; I feel a spot of jealousy. My sense of patriotism for the UK and the British bulldog has long disappeared.
Growing up, I remember visiting seaside resorts in the UK and the union jack had been downgraded. Instead of flying our flag high, we took to wearing its design on our bikini bottoms, effectively covering our rear ends with the pride of our nation.
We did not realize at the time, the symbolic gesture of what we were doing.
I am fascinated with the fact that in Turkey, I have never seen the style of the Turkish flag on bikinis or underwear. I am quite sure that if you wanted to buy such items, you would be hard press to find a stockist. I also blame my lack of patriotism on British politicians and their sell out to the EU.
If we still believed in witches, I suspect that the politicians of that tiny, little island in the sea would have burned at the stake years ago. While Greece and Italy seemed to openly flaunt every rule made by the EU, Britain instead enforced them with an iron fist.
My one benefit of being a British citizen, is the passport that allows me free travel, for which I am eternally grateful.
Therefore, while I have no sense of pride in my home country, to witness such patriotism among Turks does bring a feeling of comfort to me. I have one concern for the future of Turkey though. Their connection to the EU
Will Turkey get into the EU?
I was delighted to read a recent news report that Turkish opinion has shifted on whether they should join the EU. Apparently, in 2004, an overwhelming 70% of the Turks wanted to join, but as each year progresses the number is slowly dropping, reaching an average of 30% in 2012. There is also the question of northern Cyprus and many argue that until Turkey gives it up, they will never enter the EU.
Will Turkey do that? Well, not in my lifetime.
However, Turkey has already received billions of euros from the EU in pre-accession funding so I doubt the ties between the two can be cut so easily.
Do the people of Turkey need the EU?
You do not need the EU. You are a strong country and can exist on your own. While some EU countries are going down in flames, your economy is going from strength to strength.
Your people have a sense of pride that I have never witnessed in a nation before. Yes, you have your faults and are far from perfect however, as a country; I believe you can organize your own affairs, without interference from the EU.
If you insist on following the path to join the backwards tribe of numpties at EU headquarters, do what all the other EU countries do. Take the money and then run for the hills. Ignore the silly rules and pathetic dramas.
Keep your sense of national pride and patriotism for the benefit of the future generations of Turkey.
Readers Question : What are your thoughts on the Turkish flag and Turkey joining the EU?