Türkiye vs Netherlands: Erdogan, wolf salute, suspension: More than just a football match

Türkiye vs Netherlands: Erdogan, wolf salute, suspension: More than just a football match
Türkiye vs Netherlands: Erdogan, wolf salute, suspension: More than just a football match

There is a lot at stake in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals between Turkey and the Netherlands in Berlin. The match is particularly emotionally charged for the Turks.

On paper, the match between the Netherlands and Turkey is about reaching the semi-finals of the European Football Championship. But the quarter-finals this Saturday (9 p.m./RTL and MagentaTV) are even more explosive – and that’s not just for sporting reasons.

Wolf Salute Vortex

The two-game ban for Merih Demiral because of his highly controversial wolf salute gesture has left its mark on the Turkish team and the fans. “This biased and unfair decision has deeply disappointed our entire nation,” said association president Mehmet Büyükeksi in an association statement. The reaction? Accusations of double standards – and a lot of defiance. “This will not dampen our pride,” said coach Vincenzo Montella: “We will be even more passionate and proud.”

Erdogan appearance

The spontaneous visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raises the game to an even more political level. The fact that, according to the Chancellery, no meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is planned suggests that Erdogan’s trip can also be interpreted as a reaction to the debate in Germany about the “Grey Wolves”. This is the name given to the supporters of the right-wing extremist “Ülkücü movement”, which is being monitored in Germany by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. In Turkey, the ultra-nationalist MHP is their political representative and an ally of President Erdogan’s Islamic-conservative AKP. “Hopefully the whole thing will be over on Saturday,” said Erdogan, “when we leave the field as winners and move on to the next round.”

Türkiye home game

Given that there are around 200,000 people with Turkish roots living in Berlin, Turkey is expecting what feels like a home game. But Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is not worried about that. “I think it will be nice to play in such an atmosphere,” he said. “We just have to keep the ball, then they will calm down.”

Police presence

It is a “non plus ultra high-risk game,” said Benjamin Jendro, spokesman for the Berlin Police Union, to the German Press Agency. Around 3,000 officers are expected to be deployed. Not only the well-known hotspots, but also numerous other contact points must be secured in view of the large Turkish community in Berlin. Especially since the atmosphere has been further heated up by the wolf salute. The influential fan group Ultraslan of the traditional club Galatasaray announced on Instagram that they cannot wait “to give an answer to this meanness tomorrow as thousands of Grey Wolves in Berlin and as millions in the world.”

Source: Stern

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