Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Avrupalı Eses, Ankaralı kanka

European Eses, Ankaralı Kanka

By Tanıl Bora
Radikal newspaper

Original article in Turkish here

Translation by Oz Kanka (with a little help from Mrs. Oz Kanka)

Behind a sign saying "European Esesler-Erasmus students" there was a group of many young blondes. They were students from various European countries who came to Anadolu University via the Erasmus exchange programme. They first watched the Eskisehirspor-Galatasaray match and later take their place on the terraces for every match. What do they shout: "Es es es ki ki ki, eski eski es!"

I received this information from a university friend, Emre Gokalp and through his mediation we wrote to two students who where the originators of this organisation, Osman Gumuşgul and Selim Songun who are both fourth year students at Anadolu University's Physical Education department.

Their aim is to "increase sympathy and enlarge the number of Eskisehirspor fans both outside the city and outside the country".

This aim turned into a course project.

In cooperation with the Anadolu University Erasmus Club and the Eskisehirspor 1965 Asssociation, They are working towards getting 117 Erasmus students to the Eses matches. The red and blacks reputation in the city and the renown of its fans has already created an attraction (for the foreign students).

They organised to have breakfast in the morning before the Galatasaray match. From there they went to a bar. Having fun, talking, they copied and learnt from each other singing English and Turkish football songs. In this way they went to the stadium. A full stadium and chanting... plus Eses managing to beat their famous opponent... They liked it. They have been there for the following matches. The Red and Black scarves, the club shirts and of course the memories; "They will remember Eskisehirspor with a smile when they return to their home countries," so think Osman and Selim with pride.

The ball is round in Ankara

Two Lithuanian students who are in fact basketball fans wrote (to me) of their observations, again through Osman and Selim. Renata Braziulyte started to become interested in football thanks to the 2008 European Championships. She says that she was shocked that during the match (against) Ankaragucu the supporters sang continously.

She stopped watching the match and started singing "Es es es ki ki ki eski, eski, es".

Joana Cesnakaite loves match day with "the whole city going crazy" and the supporters singing altogether. For her the phrase "Es es es ki ki ki eski eski es" has turned into something like a greeting.

I know a more senior and "engaged" "foreign" football fans group: "The Round Ball in Ankara" (Ankara'da Top Yuvarlak) "Kanka Group". They have members who are mainly English, Irish, Scottish and Australian but also have Germans, Croatians, Americans, French, Danish, Finnish and Turkish.

They are at the address http://ankarafootball.blogspot.com which publishes in English. They introduce themselves as "a blog for football lovers in Ankara", followed by a note stating "except for those who like Ankaraspor"!

Their user names must have the word "Kanka" in them. In their messages they address (their readers) "Dear Kankas and kankies" (sevgili kankalar ve kankiler).

There are Ankaragucu and Genclerbirligi kankas and you can see them wearing scarves and uniforms in Maraton at every one of their teams' matches. In contrast to the "Erasmus Eses", most of them are middle-aged and work in the professions. They found their way to Ankara due to work or love. If not, they are football lovers who have settled in Ankara for a couple of years.

Similar to a British person who has football culture, in the same way as it is natural to buy bread and water from the local market, it is natural for them to support the football team where they live.

Citizens of the world

The Ankaragucu kankas discussed the club's management crisis under the heading "Goodbye Cemal Aydin". Eski Kanka Jim talks about his hope that one day a rich Russian, African or American will buy Ankaragucu and will take the club high in the league.

The Genclerbirligi kankas shared their joyful comments on Jedinak's transfer to Genclerbirligi which strengthened the Australian "colonisation" of the club.

In response to a kanka who wrote that he wasn't surprised at the TFF decision not to punish Samet Aybaba for his statement "They prefer an Arab to me", another kanka said "Shame on you TFF. We will never forget what you have done".

This conversation is a state of world citizenship. The stadium embraces everybody everywhere as a local. The stadium makes them feel that everyone is a local. This is the human and international face of football. This is a lesson to football personalities who keep complaining about "foreigners" and who display racism as naturally as they buy bread and water from the market. Have a good year.


  1. Great stuff from Radikal.

    We first hit the headlines in Sabah a couple of years ago with a follow-up report from Hurriyet.

    Next came NTV. Where to next I wonder ?? The Telegraph or God forbid .... The Guardian ??!!

    Great article from Radikal and I hope all those Eskisehir fanatiks and Radikal sports journalists continue to follow our blog.

    The reporter is spot on though. Football is truly international, especially if you support Ankaragucu and Gencler. The locals love us and are proud that we support Ankara teams.

    All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

  2. We have already been in The Guardian. Well, sort of. Check out this old post: