Turkey’s Political Football War

turkey's political football war
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Football is not only a reason for great emotions, but also a channel to express them. El Salvador losing to Honduras was the cherry on top of the already rapidly growing tension between these two countries, which resulted in a war, named by Ryszard Kapuscinski “the Football War”. A similar situation we can see in today’s Turkey.

The same is the case in Turkey –  rivarly of two teams is dividing the community into two fractions, each of the teams gathering supporters of different social ideas. When the team Galatasaray, connected with lay, city-based elite won 2:0 with the Islamic, conservative Basaksehir, the nationalist far-right canditate for president Meral Aksener wrote “Galatasaray- 2, Recep Tayyip Erdogan- 0”. Her tweet has been shared 42 000 times and got over 100 000 likes. The answer from supporters of the Islamist Justice and Developement Party was: “Erdogan will be the one to score a goal in 2019 elections”.
Galatasaray is also supported by the Kurds, because the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (considered a terrorist organization) Abdullah Ocalan supports it. Fans of the club sing during matches: “We are the soldiers of Mustafa Kemal”, what refers to the founder of the present lay republic, Ataturk, in opposition to which is the Islamic party AKP.
Basaksehir, on the other side, is a club from Istambul, financed mainly by business connected to president Erdogan, ex-footballer and former mayor of the city. The name of the club comes from a conservative district of Istambul, which developed rapidly on the European side of the city, exactly during that time, when Erdogan was the mayor.

The Turkish president is a fan of a different club, but in his speech before the match he clearly expressed support for Basaksehir, the team of his voters.

Jan Wójcik

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