"The Turkish flag is red and white."
Translation:Türk bayrağı kırmızı ve beyazdır.
these are called "isim tamlaması" - genitive construction. In "Türk Bayrağı" Türk does not possess bayrak so there is no possessive ending (Türk'ün) BUT, they belong together so the second word gets the genitive ending. Maybe someone can explain better but I'll give some examples:
- İngiliz yemeği: English food
- Cep telefonu: Mobile phone (literally pocket-phone)
- Almanca kitabı: German book
- Kadın eteği: Women's skirt (yes again English uses plural, Turkish singular)
- Çocuk kitapları: Children's books
I found a good website the other day that explains this pretty well. The link to it is below:
If you want an answer that directly addresses your question, scroll down to the section called, "Formation of the Possessed." It is a short section that makes it pretty clear, but it may be better to start from the top and work your way down to give you a better understanding of the construction used in this example -- Türk and bayrağı.
I am not a native Turkish speaker, but it is my understanding that the word that precedes a noun doesn't always get declined for its role as "possessor."
In this particular case, you have asked a very good question because this construct may be a bit difficult for English speakers since we don't decline nouns in this way. In English, "Turkish" is always an adjective unless we are referring to the Turkish language. However, according to Turkish: A Comprehensive Grammar (and possibly many other Turkish grammar books), Turkish words expressing nationality (e.g., Türk, İngiliz, Alman) are nouns not adjectives, so "flag" in "Turkish flag" gets marked for its role as "possessed." But is this really a possessive construction?
Before I answer that, let me just say that I do believe you could use Türk as an adjective and write "Türk bayrak" (in other words, not decline the word for flag in Turkish) and you would still be understood. "Türk bayrağı," however, appears to be far more commonly used and there is a difference in meaning. I am not a linguist by trade but I occasionally have conversations with them or read articles they have written and it is my understanding that the construct "Türk bayrak" is what is called "ascriptive" -- Türk (used as an adjective) attaches an attribute to the noun, meaning simply "Turkish flag." On the other hand, the construct "Türk bayrağı" is "associative" -- Türk (used as a noun) unites with "flag" to mean "flag of the Turkish."
Having said all of that, I have not fully addressed your initial question which was,"Why doesn't Türk get declined for its role as possessor?" I will admit that I had no idea when I first read your question, but I skimmed through a paper called "Turkish Noun-Noun Compounds: A Process-Based Paradigmatic Account" by Aysun Kunduracı. It was a bit too advanced for my level of Turkish, but if you would like to read it yourself, the link to it is here:
While reading the article, it finally dawned on me that there is a difference between a "possessive construction" and a "noun-noun compound." "Türk bayrağı" is a noun-noun compound. If you wanted to convey "the Turks' flag" [the Turkish people's flag] instead of "the Turkish flag" you would write "Türklerin bayrağı." Similarly, you should be able to write "Türkiye'nin bayrağı" for "Turkey's flag"/"the flag of Turkey." The construction I've seen most often used, however, is "Türk bayrağı" and it is also what is used for the Turkish Wikipedia article on it , which you can find at the link below:
Be that as it may, I recently reviewed a webpage that made me realize I still have not addressed your question. You want to know why "Türk" does not get declined. From your question, I'm assuming you have been taught that it should get declined and other sources on Turkish grammar appear to agree. Manisa Turkish, for example, breaks down noun compounds into two categories -- the definite and the indefinite (http://www.turkishlanguage.co.uk/nouns.htm). With indefinite noun compounds, the possessor does not decline, but the possessed does. With definite noun compounds, both possessor and possessed get declined. So, I went back up to the top of this post to see how "Türk bayrağı kırmızı ve beyazdır" had been translated into English. It has been translated as "The Turkish flag is red and white," indicating that the noun compound is definite and both nouns should receive declination, specifically, the sentence should be "Türk'ün bayrağı kırmızı ve beyazdır" or the English translation should be "A Turkish flag is red and white." Truth be told, you will find instances of both. Certainly, more instances will be found of "Türk bayrağı" than of "Türk'ün bayrağı," but could it be because Turks are more likely to say "a Turkish flag" than "the Turkish flag?" I suppose it is possible, but in English, you'll find far fewer instances of "a Turkish flag" than "the Turkish flag." So, to address your question, I do not know why this sentence marks the possessed but not the possessor. You've asked a very good question.
I don't know if this post was helpful or not, but if nothing else, it includes some links to reference materials on this topic and lets you know that you are not the only one who wonders why Türk does not get declined or why the translation isn't "A Turkish flag is red and white."