Istanbul Sukru Saracoglu Stadium hosted Fenerbahce-Besiktas derby on Saturday. What a match! Did we see something great? No, we didn’t. Did we see amazing tactical war? No, we didn’t. Did we see superb individual skills? No, we didn’t. So what! What did we see? Let’s start to tell the story.
What Were We Expecting?
- Really high competition
- Besiktas like to play wide. That’s why it was possible to see 1v1 challenges on the pitch.
- If Fenerbahce were defeated, the championship dreams would come to nought. They had to win definitely.
- Due to the transfer battles between the two teams and the players who caused the battle, tension could increase.
And the match started. As expected, wide play dominated the pitch. Besiktas tried to use the flanks to be effective in attack phase. Fenerbahce didn’t have still any attack plan. (If you don’t believe me, you can watch every game of Fenerbahce. Their goals generally come from set pieces and individual struggles) The only plan was Mauricio Isla (Right-back) often supported to attack with his crosses and providing the width. Fenerbahce scored 2 goals with the help of penalties. Ryan Babel responded a goal. In the second half, Fenerbahce preferred to play defensively and when they found the space, they counterattacked fast. There were 4+1 red cards. “+1” means that Oguzhan Ozyakup was shown red card due to insistence against the referee. Ricardo Quaresma, Luis Neto, Atiba Hutchinson and Ismail Koybasi fouled out of the game. In my opinion, it was a waste of time to watch the derby. You cannot find any creative tactic, but just tension and chaos.
Derby Means Chaos and Tension in Turkey
Till 2000, Turkey had neighborhood and street culture. Kids were playing football in the streets. It was famous to hold a match between different streets and neighborhoods. This seems so sweet, but sometimes this caused street fights among kids. Honestly, it is very normal for kids but when some adults, for instance, kids’ brothers, fathers, mothers, cousins, got involved in the fight, the situation could become serious. In its background, there is the high sense of belonging. Imagine you took a taxi and started to talk to the taxi driver. It is highly possible to hear the question of “Where are you from in Turkey?”. This question reflects that people in Turkey identify themselves with a city, a place, even a street or neigbourhood. It leads to hidden discrimination.
Let’s go back to the match. Fenerbahce and Besiktas went against each other in terms of transfers. Last year, Fenerbahce’s legend right back Gokhan Gonul transferred to Besiktas. In response to this Besiktas’s left back Ismail Koybasi moved to Fenerbahce. And this season, Fener fans favourite Jeremain Lens who played on loan last year went to Besiktas. The public doesn’t look professionally, they consider that they felt betrayed by Gokhan Gonul and Lens. The sense of belonging revealed itself despite kids grew, and tension increased. For sure, this is a dimension of the situation.
Turkish people addict social media and social media adds fuel to discrimination.This is because hate speech is very common there. It is highly possible that players can be influenced negatively. Hostility can increase and reflect itself on the pitch.
The derby is over. There are hatred and chaos left. As Turkish Super League had been broadcasted around the world, we were getting pleasure, but it is a real shame to show that kind of matches.