Flag of Azerbaijan
The flag of Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan bayrağı) is a horizontal tricolour featuring three equally sized fesses of blue, red, and green, with a white crescent and an eight-pointed star in the center. The tricolour replaced an earlier design used by the Azerbaijan SSR. The blue symbolizes Azerbaijan's Turkic heritage, the red stands for progress, and the green represents Islam. The official colors and size were adopted on 5 February 1991. This flag was used from 9 November 1918 to 1920, when Azerbaijan was independent, and it was revived with slight variations on 5 February 1991. The nickname for the flag is Üçrəngli Bayraq, which means The Tricolour Flag.
The flag is referred to in the Constitution and mentioned two times in the national anthem. On land, the flag is used as the civil, state and war flag; at sea, it is used as the civil, state, and naval ensign, as well as the naval jack. The flag also has official status in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. A presidential decree declared 9 November, the date when in 1918 this flag was adopted as the national flag of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, as the national Flag Day.
The national flag of Azerbaijan consists of three horizontal stripes of equal width, from top to bottom: light blue, red, and green. In the center are a white crescent and eight-pointed star. The basic description of the flag, along with the ratio, can be found in the Constitution of Azerbaijan, which was adopted 12 November 1995:
Further specifications of the national flag were detailed in the Presidential Decree "On the National Flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan" issued on 5 February 1991. The ratio was kept at 1:2, which was used in the Soviet era. Each stripe is one-third of the total height of the flag and extends the full length. The star and crescent were placed in a box that has a ratio of 3:4; the crescent is shifted one-sixtieth from the center. The outside diameter of both the crescent and the red inside circle intersects with the diameter of the star. The diameter of the star is one-sixth the height of the flag; the inscribed circle in this star is one-twelfth the height of the flag. The flag is also described in the technical specification "AZS 001-2006. Azərbaycan Respublikasının Dövlət Bayrağı. Texniki şərtlər." published by the State Committee on Standardization, Metrology and Patents of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2006.
The colors of the national flag are green, red, sky blue, and white. Exact specifications for its colors were issued in the 2004 decree "On the Rules of the National Flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan". The colors, later updated in 2013, specified in Pantone, are as follows:
The sky blue symbolizes Turkic Multinationalism, the red is for the progress to establish a modern state and the development of democracy, and green shows the nation's relation to the Muslim world. In the middle of the flag, and appearing on both front and back, are a white crescent and an eight-pointed star.
The first President of the Azerbaijani National Council Mammed Amin Rasulzade noted in his speech, at the parliament's session of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, that the colors relate to Turkic freedom, modernity, and Islamic culture. The composer of the anthem of Azerbaijan Uzeyir Hajibeyov includes in the song references to the meaning of the flag: blue for Azerbaijan's multinationalism, red for progress and culture, and green for Islam.
According to historian Nasib Nasibli, Ali bey Huseynzade, one of the ideologists of Azerbaijan's independence, developed the combination based on colors used in 1895.
While the crescent and star are typically seen as markers of Islam, some historians and researchers disagree about why an eight-pointed star is used on the flag of Azerbaijan. Fatali Khan Khoyski points to the eight letters in the word "Azerbaijan" as written in Arabic. The eight points of the star are also thought to stand for the eight Turkic peoples of Azerbaijan. The problem is there are only seven Turkic peoples: Azeris, Ottomans, Jagatais, Tatars, Kipchaks, Selijuks, and Turkomans. It's possible the Kipchaks actually reflect two peoples, the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, which would make eight. The classification of Turkic peoples pre-Soviet era was different from what it is today.
In 1828, after the last Russo-Persian War, several Khanates of the Caucasus were annexed to the Russian Empire. When the Russian Empire collapsed, Russian Azerbaijan declared its independence and joined the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, together with Georgia and Armenia. This unified state hardly lasted a year and was soon dissolved. Since the Republic was short-lived, it did not use any flags or symbols. Nevertheless, some historians consider a horizontal gold, black, and red tricolor, similar to that of the German flag but arranged differently, to have been flag of Transcaucasia. The federation was dissolved on 26 May 1918, when Georgia declared its independence as the Democratic Republic of Georgia. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan declared their independence two days later, on 28 May 1918, as the First Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, respectively.