OTTOMAN EMPIRE
 


 
NAVAL ENSIGNS & FLAGS    1914-18
 

The ensigns and flags used by the Navy of the Ottoman Empire were similar to those used nowadays by the Turkish Navy. The national flag served as both ensign and jack, the latter being half the size of the former. The commissioning pennant followed the design of the ensign/jack. The imperial standard of the Sultan at sea was red with a foul anchor and four white "bombs" in the corners. This device, actually a star with twenty points, was also used to distinguish the flags of admirals. The commodore's broad pennant was tapered and swallowtailed, and the senior officer's pennant was triangular.

In 1914 the Ottoman Navy consisted mostly of quite elderly vessels, though two modern battleships, ordered from British shipyards, were nearing completion.  When war broke out the British government, fearing that the Turks were about to enter the war on Germany's side, seized these ships for incorporation into the Royal Navy. This move caused great indignation in Turkey, where the money to pay for the new dreadnoughts had been raised by public subscription, every Anatolian peasant household contributing its mite. When the German battlecruiser Goeben and light cruiser Breslau arrived in Turkish waters after escaping from the British Mediterranean Fleet, the German government shrewdly offered them in replacement of the two seized ships. Under the Ottoman ensign but still with German crews the ships thereupon conducted a bombardment of the Russian port of Sevastopol that precipitated Turkey into the Great War.

As Yavuz Sultan Selim (later shortened to Yavuz) Goeben served as flagship of the Ottoman Navy and that of the Republic of Turkey until 1950 when she was finally decommissioned. Yavuz was the last Great War capital ship to leave service and the longest-serving dreadnought in history.
 



 

NATIONAL FLAG, NAVAL ENSIGN & JACK

 

COMMISSION PENNANT

 

IMPERIAL STANDARD AT SEA

 

MINISTER OF MARINE

 

ADMIRAL

 

VICE-ADMIRAL

 

REAR-ADMIRAL

 

COMMODORE
 

 

SENIOR OFFICER
 

 

Turkish Battlecruiser Yavuz Sultan Selim in the Bosphorus    Circa 1931
 



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