Turkish Super Cup between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce canceled

Diplomatic Tensions Lead to Cancellation of Fenerbahçe-Galatasaray Super Cup Match in Saudi Arabia

The highly anticipated Super Cup match between Turkish football giants Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, scheduled to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was abruptly canceled.

This decision came in the wake of a diplomatic crisis involving the display of images and quotes of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, by the two teams.

Hours before the match, a controversy erupted when Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray expressed their intention to enter the field wearing T-shirts featuring Atatürk’s portraits and his famous quotes, “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” and “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk.” However, Saudi authorities, citing concerns over political messaging, denied permission for this display.

The Turkish Football Federation President Mehmet Büyükekşi, along with the Youth and Sports Minister Osman Aşkın Bak, Fenerbahçe Club President Ali Koç, and Galatasaray Club President Dursun Özbek, convened an emergency meeting following the crisis. During this time, there were conflicting reports about the match proceeding as planned, with referees reportedly heading to the stadium.

However, the management of both Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray stood firm on their decision, stating that if they were not allowed to wear the Atatürk T-shirts during the warm-up, they would not play the match. This standoff led to both teams’ players, who were en route to the stadium, returning to their hotel.

The decision not to play was eventually communicated to the players of both teams. In response to these developments, fans present in the stadium expressed their discontent by singing the Turkish national anthem, “İstiklal Marşı.” The stadium authorities reportedly increased the volume of the music playing in the stadium, an action that was met with whistles and protests from the fans.

In a separate incident, a fan wearing a Fenerbahçe jersey featuring Atatürk’s portrait was allegedly forced to leave the stadium. This incident, captured on social media, further fueled the controversy and highlighted the sensitive nature of political symbols in international sports events.

The cancellation of the Super Cup match in Riyadh not only reflects the complex interplay of sports, politics, and diplomacy but also underscores the deep reverence for Atatürk in Turkish society. It raises questions about the role of political symbols in sports and the challenges of hosting international sporting events in politically sensitive environments.

As the dust settles on this incident, it remains to be seen how this diplomatic impasse will affect future sporting events and relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The incident serves as a reminder of the delicate balance that must be maintained when sports and politics intersect on the global stage.

Photo: AA

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