During the start of the 20th century, a Uyghur led national awakening movement began to take shape in East Turkistan which sought to restore the independence of East Turkistan and liberate it from Chinese occupation. After several years of waging a War of National Liberation, this goal was partially realized on November 12, 1933 with the establishment of the Republic of East Turkistan (November 12, 1933- April 16, 1934), in Kashgar. It was on the eve of November 11, 1933 that the sixteen ministers of the RET would unanimously accept the Kök Bayraq (Blue Flag), which had been proposed several months earlier by the East Turkistan Independence Association (ETIA), as the national flag of East Turkistan.
The Kök Bayraq [Blue Flag] was also used as the National Flag of the East Turkistan Republic (November 12, 1944 – December 22, 1949). Since the occupation of East Turkistan by the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the flag has been banned by Chinese occupational forces. It continues to remain as symbol of East Turkistan independence and is used and accepted unanimously by all East Turkistan and Uyghur organizations across the globe.
Explanation of the Symbolism of East Turkistan’s National Flag
• The blue color (background) is taken from the color of the sky and is a predominant color in Turkic culture that represents the sky, essentially the blue represents Turks.
• The blue color also comes from the flag of Köktürk Khaganate (Empire) and the color has also been found on the flags of numerous Turkic empires and nation states.
• The crescent represents the notion of being victorious (undefeatable) and is not necessarily an Islamic symbol, in-fact it was the Turks that introduced the crescent into the Islamic world.
• The star represents the Turkic nation, it is also found on the flag of the White Hun (Hephthalite) Empire and various other Turkic empires and states.
• It should also be noted that this Blue Flag was initially earned with the blood of over 250,000 martyrs who died in the path of liberation and independence for East Turkistan from Chinese occupation.
• The blue flag is the symbol of national independence and freedom for the people of East Turkistan.