By Emine Japarova
Crimean Tatar Flag Day – the day of honoring the national flag of the Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of Crimea, it is celebrated annually on June 26.
The ethnic Crimean Tatar flag was approved in 1917 by the First Kurultay of the Crimean Tatars, which took place in Bakhchisaray.
The flag is a sky-blue banner with a symbol of power – a golden tamga, located in the upper left corner near the pole. The proportions of the flag, the ratio of width to length – 1: 2 – are strictly adhered to over the past two decades. They were approved by the decision “On the national flag and national anthem of the Crimean Tatar people” at the second Kurultai (national meeting) of the Crimean Tatar people, which took place on June 30, 1991.
The blue cloth and gold tamga were chosen not by chance. The sky-blue color of the Turkic peoples is a synonym of purity and freedom, honesty and fidelity, perfection and strength. The only color of the blue background is associated with the desire for unity of the people, peace and prosperity.
Tamga (family cout of arms) in the Crimea was in every noble family. Each generation had its own tamga. As a rule, a descendant of a certain genus, borrowing the tamga of his ancestor, added a new element to it.
Crimean Tatar Flag Day was first celebrated in 2010 at the initiative of the Crimean Youth Center and other youth organizations. On August 29, 2010 at the III session of the V Kurultay of the Crimean Tatar people it was decided to celebrate the National Flag Day on June 26 – the opening day of the II Kurultay. Its purpose is to unite the people and popularize Crimean Tatar symbols.
From the moment of its existence at different times, it was subjected to repressions. Thus, in 1929, the communist authorities declared the blue flag “bourgeois-nationalist” and banned its use. In places of deportation of Crimean Tatars after 1944, keeping the flag was considered a crime against the Soviet authorities. Already in 1970-1980, a large part of the Crimean Tatar youth did not know their flag. It was from the moment of the return of the Crimean Tatars to the Crimea during the times of independent Ukraine that the flag began its revival together with its people coming back to the homeland.
In the Russian-annexed Crimea, the flag is not officially banned, the Kremlin-controlled government is trying to make the Crimean Tatar population loyal through national symbols and to prove to the world community the propaganda claims of “equality” of the peoples of Crimea. At the same time, the open use of the Crimean Tatar flag and other national symbols is subject to pressure and repression.