ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish authorities have detained an Iranian national for hanging a towel emblazoned with the British Union Jack flag from a building during a Turkish public holiday, officials and news reports said Wednesday.

The man was detained Tuesday in the central Turkish city of Kayseri following complaints by neighbors who deemed the display of the Union Jack design to be a provocative act. The man defended himself by saying he was merely drying his wet towel, the Kayseri governor's office said in a statement.

Turks celebrate May 19 Youth and Sports Day by among other things, displaying Turkish flags out of windows and balconies. The holiday commemorates the start of Turkey's War of Independence on May 19, 1919 against occupying forces, including from Britain, following World War I.

Neighbors clapped and cheered as police escorted the detained man into a police vehicle, media reports said.