Anti-coup protests in Turkey boost flag sales
ISTANBUL - Reuters
Flag manufacturers were working flat out to meet surging demand from patriotic Turks after a faction in the armed forces tried to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government late o July 15.
The coup quickly crumbled as Erdoğan urged people to take to the streets daily in support of his government.
“From the first day around 1.5 million flags were sold. I expect another five million to be sold in the coming days,” said.
Orkun Altier, owner of flag producer Gözde Bayrak.
“Teachers, blacksmiths, canteen operators, everyone wants flags at the moment. I don’t even have one left for myself to hang in my own home,” he said.
Manufacturers say they expect up to 10 million flags to be sold in the coming days in Turkey, which has a total population of nearly 80 million people. They say this would mark the highest demand since Turkey’s soccer team made the semi-finals in the 2002 World Cup. Even in calmer times the Turkish flag - a white star and crescent moon against a red background representing the blood of martyrs - is venerated in this proudly nationalistic country. It is a crime to damage or tear the flag or show it any disrespect.
“We had quite a lot in stock, but they have all gone. We have started up new production...Demand is huge. Our public is really so sensitive about this subject,” said Selahattin Afsar of Karanfil Bayrak, a flag-maker in the western city of Bursa.
“Personally I was so sad for my country on the night of the coup attempt that I couldn’t think of selling flags even though I had so many of them then.”
The flag can be seen flying from even more buildings and vehicles than usual since the attempted coup. Flags sell for as little as 3 lira ($1) in Turkey.
“We have increased production but it takes time to make them,” said İzzet Adar, owner of Aybayrak, who has been making flags for the past 25 years. “They are factory-made so it takes two to three days to produce them.
“Basically everyone in Turkey wants flags.”