The Flag of Turkmenistan: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: December 15, 2022
© railway fx/Shutterstock.com
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The five traditional carpet patterns that climb up the hoist give the flag of Turkmenistan one of the most complex national flag designs worldwide! This is mainly due to its detailed and complex flag design. The oval carpet patterns on the left represent the five main tribes that made up the country’s inhabitants. Although the flag is made only of four hues green, white, red, and gold (yellow), its added details are what truly sets it apart. This article will examine the symbolism and historical significance of this exquisitely detailed flag.

Flag of Turkmenistan History

flag of Turkmenistan
The flag of Turkmenistan was last updated in 2001.

©Tatohra/Shutterstock.com

The 18th of May is celebrated as Constitution and State Flag Day. The five stars on the current Turkmenistan flag stand for the Five Pillars of Islam as well as the country’s five provinces. The white crescent on the flag symbolizes Islam. A symbolic depiction of the well-known carpet market in the country is located on a red strip situated to the left on a field of greenery. The Soviet-era flag, which featured a red backdrop and two light blue stripes in the middle, was replaced on September 27, 1992. A revised version was accepted on January 23, 2001.

The Backstory

Turkmenistan’s official flag was the Russian Empire’s until the Russian Revolution. Before the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Turkmenistan had a flag that was akin to those of all other Soviet Republics. Turkmenistan approved a flag on February 19, 1992, that is eerily similar to the one now in use.

On February 1st, 1997, an olive branch was presented to symbolize the Turkmen’s passion for peace. The crescent and stars were also relocated, the crescent almost in its present position and the stars in a much more uneven position. In 2001, the green field’s color was changed and its proportions were altered to 2:3 (previously 1:2).

Flag of Turkmenistan Meaning

Design

The flag of Turkmenistan has an official 2:3 ratio. It has five white five-pointed stars in the upper area of the field. To the fly side of the red line is a white waxing crescent moon, which is a common characteristic of Turkic and Islamic iconography. The flag is green with a vertical red stripe at the hoist side that has two crossed olive branches and five carpet patterns layered on top of each other. For many years, the Turkmen have woven expensive carpets for which they are famed using these conventional patterns. Even throughout the Soviet era, a carpet could be seen on the Turkmen coat of arms.

Coat of Arms Inspired Design

The current flag’s design was unquestionably influenced by Turkmenistan’s national emblem or coat of arms. This symbol has an Akhal-Teke horse in the center of a blue disc and is made up of an eight-pointed green star with a golden edge. Five traditional carpet motifs can be seen around the horse on a band of red. Even though the horse and disk are absent, the current flag of Turkmenistan features these carpet designs. The outer edge of the coat of arms is made up of wheat sheaves and seven blossoms, and the Islamic crescent with five stars is positioned above. The current flag design does not include wheat or blossoms, but it does include the crescent and five stars.

Colors:

The four basic hues of the Turkmenistan flag are as follows:

  • Philippine Green
  • Amaranth Red
  • White
  • Sunglow Yellow

Flag of Turkmenistan Symbolism

flag of Turkmenistan
The flag of Turkmenistan is often referred to as the most intricate flag due to its design and representation.

©Creativa Images/Shutterstock.com

It is frequently referred to as the most intricate national flag in the entire world. The colors of the flag are green and red because they have long-held special meanings for the Turkmen. The resilient crescent moon is a representation of the country’s aspiration for a better future.

The stars are thought to symbolize Turkmenistan’s five provinces, namely Ahal, Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap, and Mary. Some people also think that each star’s five points correspond to a different condition of matter (liquid, solid, gas, crystal, and plasma) and that the five stars symbolize the five senses.

The flag also features designs taken from authentic tribal rugs from the Turkmen people. An example of a handmade floor-covering textile that has its roots in Central Asia is a Turkmen rug. The Choudor, Ersari, Saryk, Tekke, and Yomut subtribes of Turkmenistan are represented by the five different carpet patterns. These are Turkmenistan’s five principal tribes, and they stand for the nation’s cultural and spiritual traditions. These tribes all have distinctive rug patterns. Turkmenistan’s “state of perpetual neutrality” is represented by the wreath that sits underneath the 5 carpet “guls” (motifs).

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The Featured Image

flag of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan flag waving against clean blue sky, close up, isolated with clipping path mask alpha channel transparency
© railway fx/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

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Sources
  1. Advantour, Available here: https://www.advantour.com/turkmenistan/flag.htm
  2. Flagdom, Available here: https://flagdom.com/international-flags/turkmenistan-flag
  3. National Today, Available here: https://nationaltoday.com/state-flag-of-turkmenistan-day/