Monday, February 05, 2007

Of flags and footy

Politics has definitely been on display on the terraces in Turkey in the last few weeks. In the main it has been nationalist groups angry that those attending the funeral of Hrant Dink held up placards saying "We are all Armenians".

In response various nationalist groups, especially Trabzon supporters, have been carrying placards "We are all Turks" or variations on the theme. I don't want to go into the details or my views on the matter as this blog tries to stick to the big issues affecting Turkey, such as the still-proposed banning of smoking at football stadiums.

But I thought I'd run something political straight from The Observer, Sir Eski Kanka's Sunday reading material concerning a bloke called Mete who seems to have upset the Greek Cypriot community of London.

From The Observer Notebook article:

Why have Arsenal redecorated the Emirates Stadium?

When Arsenal moved in to the Emirates Stadium, they asked the fans to help them 'decorate' it with flags. Now, it seems, they'd prefer any colour, as long as it's red. The club has banned national flags of every description and demanded that 'only flags in support of Arsenal Football Club' be flown.

This is not, perish the thought, an opportunistic attempt to boost merchandise sales. No, the 60,000-seat ground is turning monochrome because of a fan known as Mete, who has been flying a Turkish Cypriot flag. More than 8,000 people complained about his flag, as the 'Republic of Northern Cyprus' is only recognised by Turkey (who knew the Highbury faithful were so politically aware?). So rather than removing the offending item, the club banned all national emblems. How odd, when Arsenal are the United Nations of the Premiership.

1 comment:

  1. Talking of flags, reminds me of the `old chestnut` of the religious divide in Glasgow.

    Not many years ago, the Directors of Glasgow Celtic appealed to Celtic fans to stop bringing The Tricolour (the Flag of the Irish Republic) into the Stadium and waving it about as they sing their IRA songs. This was in response to an initiative from Glasgow Rangers to drop the rule that no catholic can play for the club.

    Fair dinkum you might say. However, it didn't happen overnight and there is still hostile feeling between the two sets of supporters. I was in Celtic Stadium 2 years ago to see them play Lyon and I didn't spot any Tricolours (good news). However, it might be a different story when they play Rangers ??!!

    As for friend Mete, I say continue to wave your flag proudly my son. After all, it was the country with the Blue flag which started the war !!!

    Oh yes, and I want it clearly understood that I have never in the past, present or future read, or will read, that low class tabloid called The Guardian.

    In my opinion, the Turkish Daily News is a better read, even if the news is a day late !!