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Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray Do Not Allow the Saudi Arabian Administration to Disrespect their National Value, Atatürk

Among all the sports fields, football is the most popular and competitive sport in Türkiye due to the cultural value it represents for the people. During the matches, fans root for their favorite teams by singing their anthems they composed on their own, demoralizing the rival team by degrading discourses or even performing their superstitions in order to complete the game in triumph. There are 127 football clubs that compete in the Turkish professional league. Despite this extensive number, there are major teams that are the monopolies in the tournaments and leagues including Fenerbahçe (FB), Galatasaray (GS), Beşiktaş (BJK), Trabzonspor (TS), and Adanademirspor (ADS). Fans love to forecast the winners and the losers of the matches between these presider teams.


On 29 December 2023, at 20.45, the Turkish Super Cup, which is the annual (Turkcell) Super Cup match played between the previous season's (Trendyol) Super League champions and the (Ziraat) Turkish Cup winners, was going to come to an end via the final game between Fenerbahçe SK and Galatasaray SK. Although the competing teams were both Turkish teams from Istanbul, the game was planned to be hosted at Riyadh's Al-Awwal Park (King Saud University Stadium) by Saudi Arabia. Due to the 100th year anniversary of the Turkish Republic, which had been founded by the “Father of the Turks” Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe clubs wanted to make the players wear special jerseys to celebrate the tenth decade of the Turkish Republic. Additionally, Turkish football fans all over Türkiye who came to the match were in Saudi Arabia to cheer for their favorite teams as well as to maintain the glorious spirit of the foundation of the republic. To achieve that, the fans prepared banners themed with Atatürk and his famous discourses which people in Türkiye strive to take steps towards people in Türkiye for the development of the country. Moreover, Galatasaray wanted to go to the match with the banner "How happy is the one who says I am a Turk!", while Fenerbahçe planned to bring a banner which read "Peace at home, peace in the world".


Along with these intentions, football fans from Türkiye as well as Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray teams came to Saudi Arabia, waiting for the most competitive match of the Super Cup tournament, the final. Nonetheless, they were not aware of the fact that the Saudi-Arabian administrators wouldn’t comply with their requests. To be more precise, Turkish fans and the teams were actually allowed to sing the Turkish National Anthem as well as being able to open Turkish flags, whereas wearing special team jerseys and opening placards for the memorial of Atatürk was not allowed since the Saudi-Arabian administrators were not informed earlier and they wanted to prevent possible malfunctions. One fan who was wearing Fenerbahçe’s 100th-year Atatürk uniform was even expelled from the stadium according to some allegations.


Along with these intentions, football fans from Türkiye as well as Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray teams came to Saudi Arabia, waiting for the most competitive match of the Super Cup tournament, the final. Nonetheless, they were not aware of the fact that the Saudi-Arabian administrators wouldn’t comply with their requests. To be more precise, Turkish fans and the teams were actually allowed to sing the Turkish National Anthem as well as being able to open Turkish flags, whereas wearing special team jerseys and opening placards for the memorial of Atatürk was not allowed since the Saudi-Arabian administrators were not informed earlier and they wanted to prevent possible malfunctions. One fan who was wearing Fenerbahçe’s 100th-year Atatürk uniform was even expelled from the stadium according to some allegations.


Because of the degradations performed towards Atatürk, both of the teams decided to not play the match. Athletic, the sports site of the US-based New York Times, reported: “2023 is the 100th anniversary of Atatürk's founding of the Republic of Turkey. The Turkish Football Federation, which was heavily criticized for moving the match to Saudi Arabia, initially dismissed the speculations that the match would be canceled as 'disinformation'. However, as the start time approached and the fans were waiting in the stadium, it was decided that the match could not be played.” Nevertheless, these teams didn’t give up on their decision to cancel the match in an atmosphere where their founding leader was not respected in their opinions.


Eventually, the Super Cup Final match was postponed to an uncertain date. It was also initially reported that Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe wanted to play the match in their own country Türkiye, for the honor of the ten decades of the republic. Even though multiple allegations were made, these outstanding Turkish clubs showed Türkiye as well as the rest of the world to what extent they value Atatürk and his path, which he wanted upcoming generations to follow. Many people now predict that Turkish teams will not be allowing other nations or even people from their nation to disrespect Atatürk and the footsteps he had taken for the development of Türkiye.


Works Cited

The Sporting Blog. “The 6 Most Popular Sports in Turkey.” The Sporting Blog, 10 Nov. 2023.

Ergil, Leyla Yvonne. “Turkey’s ‘football Fever’ and How It Represents Cultural Values.” Daily Sabah, 17 May 2021.

“Eşi Benzeri Görülmemiş Kriz! Süper Kupa’nın Iptal Edilmesi Büyük Yankı Uyandırdı.” Hürriyet Ana Sayfa.

“Riyad’Daki Süper Kupa Krizi, İtalyan Kamuoyunda Yankı Buldu: ‘Haç Da Yasaklanır Mı?’” BBC News Türkçe, BBC.

“Süper Kupa Maçı Ertelendi.” NTVSpor.Net.

“Fenerbahçe, Iki Kulübün Neden Süper Kupa Finaline Çıkmadığını Duyurdu.” CNN TÜRK, Künye.

“Galatasaray ve Fenerbahçe Arasındaki Süper Kupa Finalinin Oynanmaması Yabancı Basında Nasıl Yer Aldı?” BBC News Türkçe, BBC.

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