Claims about the Israeli and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus flags are not true

By: Emincan Yüksel
November 7 2023

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Claims about the Israeli and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus flags are not true

Source: X

Fact-Check

The Verdict False

Neither the Israeli nor TRNC flag meanings refer to the land between the Euphrates and Nile rivers. Necmettin Erbakan did not design theTRNC flag.

Claim ID 06eb80db

Context

On October 23, 2023, Turkish journalist Hacı Yakışıklı shared a post on X (formerly Twitter) with an image and two false claims. First, the post claims that Necmettin Erbakan, a former prime minister of Turkey, designed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) flag. The other claim refers to the supposed meanings of both the Israeli and TRNC flags: that each country claims to have a right to the land between the Euphrates and Nile Rivers. The post has received nearly 700,000 views, 1,000 reposts, and nearly 4,000 likes.

These claims have been recirculated in the context of the ongoing Hamas-Israel war, which broke out on October 7.

According to the image in the post on X, the meaning of the Israeli flag is explained as follows: "The bloodshed will not stop on Earth until the area between the Euphrates and the Nile Rivers are Jews." Similarly, the meaning of the TRNC flag is supposedly as follows: "As long as there is Turkey, the area between the Euphrates and the Nile Rivers will not be Jews."

Source: Patrick Goodman/World History

Both flag designs have been claimed to represent each country as having a right to the land between the Euphrates and Nile Rivers. Such claims suggest a territorial ambition embedded within the very symbols of national identity. However, a closer examination of historical records and official narratives paints a different picture.

What are the meanings of the Israeli and TRNC flags?

This is not the first time such claims have been propagated. In 2018, similar images were shared across social media, where it was claimed that the upper and lower lines of the Israeli and Cypriot flags represented the Euphrates and Nile Rivers.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs official website, the discussion regarding the adoption of the Zionist flag as the state flag persisted until 28 October 1948, when it was officially designated as the state flag for the newly formed territory.

The ministry credits David Wolffsohn with the flag's design and describes the Israeli flag as taking inspiration from various aspects of Judaism, particularly the tallit – the Jewish prayer shawl – and the Jewish tzitzit. This gives the flag its white field with blue stripes. Nowhere in its official design or historical context does it suggest or refer to the expression of owning or having a right to the land between the Euphrates and Nile rivers.

The quote in the image on X is credited to Theodor Herzl, often referred to as the founder of modern Zionism. In Herzl’s book, Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), he proposed a design for a state flag that included seven golden stars on a white field. Herzl died before the existence of the state of Israel, which did not adopt this design.

According to the TRNC official website, the flag of the country, which declared its independence on 15 November 1983, was adopted on 7 March 1984. Nejat Konuk, the then Prime Minister, explained the meanings of the flag, highlighting that while there might be similarities among national flags, the TRNC flag shares the same colors and proportions as Turkey's. The upper stripe represents Turkey, while the lower stripe symbolizes the TRNC.

The post also claims the TRNC flag was designed by Necmettin Erbakan. Erbakan was the 23rd Prime Minister of Turkey and the former chairman of the Welfare Party, the former party of President Erdogan. However, the TRNC flag was not designed by Erbakan, but by Turkish painter Emin Çizenel.

In a previous statement, painter Emin Çizenel said that the white color in the flag represents peace, and the red color represents the struggle of the Turkish Cypriots for their land. Çizenel also stated that the lines at the top and bottom of the flag carry the message that the TRNC community will live in those lands forever. The flag does not refer to any claims of sovereignty between these two rivers in the Middle East.

The verdict

The claims concerning land rights in the Israeli and TRNC flags in this image, including the dominance of the land between the Euphrates and the Nile Rivers, are not true. The flags of the countries have very different meanings than the claims. In addition, the TRNC flag in the claim was designed by painter Emin Çizenel, not former Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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