Well our Fenerbahce-supporting prime minister has decided to do his bit for world peace in the last few days by banning a friendly match between the only mixed Arab-Jewish team in Israel and our very own Ankaraspor.
Mr. Erdogan is always going on about the great help that Turkey and Turkish firms can give to the bringing together of people in that rather volatile region and so a Turkish construction firm, Yilmazlar Insaat, decided to do its bit and bring Abu Gosh-Mevaseret to Ankara for a friendly match that was to have been played on Wednesday (July 26).
According to a report by the Turkish news agency ANKA, all was set up for the match until 10:20 p.m. Sunday night when the chairman of Yilmazlar Insaat, Ahmet Reyiz Yilmaz, was phoned by Ankaraspor Honourary Chairman Melih Gokcek (the man who ordered the destruction of this blog's favourite pre-match pub) telling him the match was off.
Yilmaz says that Gokcek had been summoned by PM Erdogan who told him to cancel the match, proving once again that there is no political influence in Turkish football.
While ANKA doesn't actually quote Yilmaz, they almost do, so I'm taking the liberty to turn the statements made into quotes.
"The Abu Gosh-Mevaseret team play in red and white and on the team's jersey they have a crescent and star," Yilmaz pretty much said. "At a time in the Middel East when blood and tears dominate I cannot understand why this friendly match was cancelled."
Yilmaz said that the cancellation came just before the Arab-Jewish team was due to fly to Ankara and that the team is in shock.
The Ankara Municipal Council have denied the claims, denying that Gokcek and Erdogan had not discussed the matter ANKA reported.
All in all a great shame. As Yilmaz says, at a time of great suffering in the Middle East this could have been a great example that people can live together, even enjoy themselves together.
EDIT (Monday night) Just read a statement from Ankaraspor Chairman Hilmi Gokcinar that Ankaraspor pulled out because they have a very heavy schedule. Ahhhhh That must be it then.