Being in Ankara I never get to see Turkish national matches live. It is pretty pathetic that the capital doesn't get a single national match, not even friendlies. But one lucky person posted a short but very interesting report of her experience last night at Turkey's 1-0 loss to Greece. I reprint this report from "Burbaco" from the Expat in Turkey website.
The crowd had such a strange vibe at last night's match. The pre-game was filled with anti-PKK chants and there were signs in the stadium to the same effect. A German student who came with us and has just arrived, with the innocence of a lamb asked, ''What does the PKK have to do with Greece?'' There was a palpable anger amongst the crowd and I began to question the wisdom of coming to the match with 10 yabancis. I thought I was being paranoid until a few police officers showed up and asked if any of us were Greek. When I said we were not, they said they were worried that other people wouldn't know that and that a police officer would stay with us in case there were any problems. The police officer did end up removing a guy who began to bother us (although he was just being generally obnoxious - not xenophobic). The police officer was professional and sincere and he gave us his name and station (Eyüp) and invited us for tea anytime.
When the match began it was rather anti-climatic. The crowd was under-enthused and it seemed that many people were not really there to watch football. I guessed the Turkish Football Federation had chosen Ali Sami Yen to try to create a more intimidating atmosphere, but my observation is the match last month against Hungary at Inönü was much more vocal.
Many of the supporters who were left at the end (many left after Greece scored) actually applauded the Greek side. I was very surprised and, I think, the Greek players were as well. They began to tentatively applaud back to the crowd and when they realized the applause was continued and sincere they began to lustily applaud us. The German students I was with were shocked - they couldn't believe the Turkish side was applauding the Greek team after tossing flares at them moments before. Welcome to the enigma of the collective Turkish psyche.