Didier Drogba: The Photographer

The swarm of cameras around footballers and professional athletes is nothing new. Sitting on the Galatasaray bench this past weekend, Didier Drogba decided to spend some time turning the tables. Snagging a camera from one of the photographers, Didier went ahead and took a few shots. Making the most of the situation, Drogba’s exquisite and improvised work was actually published. So, thanks to Drogba, the #selfie has invaded Getty’s official photo wire.

Mesut Özil: The Perpetually-Hyphenated Footballer

No sport involves topics like ethnicity and cultural distinctions quite as much as football. From teams that only  field athletes of certain cultural backgrounds, to ever-evolving discussions regarding race and integration in countries like France and Italy, ethnicity and culture are always at the forefront of football, a situation that can be constructive, but just as often perpetuates misunderstandings. That said, we’re a bit confused as to why Mesut Özil is a perpetually-hyphenated footballer. 

It’s no surprise that Mesut Özil’s transfer to Arsenal is making headlines across Europe, but what is startling is that most stories regarding the transfer include a qualifer when discussing the footballer: Turkish-German, even though Özil was born in the heart of Germany. From The Daily Mail: 

 ”The arrival of the third-generation Turkish-German playmaker Ozil comes in a deal worth the best part of £200,000-per-week …”

Now, The Daily Mail has a reputation as a newspaper that places a premium on tumult, but it’s a trend visible in newspapers across Europe, and one that, despite the seemingly throw-away nature of the phrase, is unquestionably significant.

Whether the malice is intentional or not, qualifers both demonstrate ongoing cultural tensions, and marginalize specific populations by implying that they are not full-members of society. “Turkish-German, sure, but German? No.” This might seem relatively unimportant, but in a practical sense, these sort of distinctions place barriers between people and impact everyday interactions, not to mention issues like employment, pay and incarceration…

This isn’t to say that Özil’s cultural heritage isn’t a topic that deserves attention, but that an article discussing a transfer window isn’t exactly the right place for it. Further, it’s doubtful whether any harm is intended in the use of qualifiers when a trend of lazy journalism is far more likely. Regardless, words carry weight, and we ought to consider their implications. [Posted by Maxi]

Istanbul United: Rival fans of Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, and Besiktas protest against the Turkish government together
The demonstration against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s government that has erupted in Turkey has already seen an initially peaceful protest over the proposed redevelopment of Istanbul’s Taksim Square evolve into a fully fledged movement in multiple cities involving hundreds of thousands of people. 
Perhaps serving as a barometer for how the Turkish people have united is the fact that fans of Istanbul’s football clubs Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, and Besiktas have put their differences aside to challenge the authoritarian regime. The image above of three rival supporters with their arms around each other has been circulating on Twitter, and the message is perfectly clear.
Sky has put together a video about the recent unification of rivals, while Reuters has more about the fans who often fight one another with rather than work together:

"Go on spray, go on spray, spray your pepper gas. Take off your helmets, put down your truncheons and let’s see who’s the tough guy," sang the fans, taunting police with a Besiktas chant which has become popular with the demonstrators.
There are tales of Galatasaray fans coming to the aid of Fenerbahce supporters trapped by the police, or of fans rushing down the hill from Taksim to the aid of rival supporters in the nearby Besiktas district on the shores of the Bosphorus.
"We are normally enemies, but this has really brought us together. It’s never happened before," said university student Mert Gurses, 18, wearing a black-and-white Besiktas scarf and chatting with friends near the fish market in Besiktas.

There’s little evidence to suggest how the situation in Turkey will shift, but the spirit of the nation is alive and well with its citizens in this time of chaos, even transcending supposed eternal rivals in sport.

Istanbul United: Rival fans of Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, and Besiktas protest against the Turkish government together

The demonstration against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s government that has erupted in Turkey has already seen an initially peaceful protest over the proposed redevelopment of Istanbul’s Taksim Square evolve into a fully fledged movement in multiple cities involving hundreds of thousands of people.

Perhaps serving as a barometer for how the Turkish people have united is the fact that fans of Istanbul’s football clubs Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, and Besiktas have put their differences aside to challenge the authoritarian regime. The image above of three rival supporters with their arms around each other has been circulating on Twitter, and the message is perfectly clear.

Sky has put together a video about the recent unification of rivals, while Reuters has more about the fans who often fight one another with rather than work together:

"Go on spray, go on spray, spray your pepper gas. Take off your helmets, put down your truncheons and let’s see who’s the tough guy," sang the fans, taunting police with a Besiktas chant which has become popular with the demonstrators.

There are tales of Galatasaray fans coming to the aid of Fenerbahce supporters trapped by the police, or of fans rushing down the hill from Taksim to the aid of rival supporters in the nearby Besiktas district on the shores of the Bosphorus.

"We are normally enemies, but this has really brought us together. It’s never happened before," said university student Mert Gurses, 18, wearing a black-and-white Besiktas scarf and chatting with friends near the fish market in Besiktas.

There’s little evidence to suggest how the situation in Turkey will shift, but the spirit of the nation is alive and well with its citizens in this time of chaos, even transcending supposed eternal rivals in sport.

Turkey’s Women Lead a Regional Transition
“We’re focused on sports, not politics. We don’t deny that we are Kurds. But when we play, we never say, ‘We are Kurds and they are Turks.’” - Tahir Temel
Sitting in an especially tense region of Southern Turkey, Hakkari is a province trailed by hardships. From widespread unemployment to ongoing clashes between Kurdish and Turkish forces, life is precarious. More so, for women who reside in the region, one in which stories of forced marriages and honor killings are not unusual. And yet, despite these hurdles, a group of women have found empowerment through soccer. Since debuting in 2008, Hakkari Power, a team filled with local women, has sped through promotions, last season becoming the only team in the entirety of Turkey to finish their year without conceding a goal. More importantly, women have from the side have found opportunities through the club, one in which ethnicity and cultural background are insignificant, with several gaining roles in Turkey’s national youth team and more finding scholarships with local universities. 
In this article from Time Magazine, Piotr Zalewski discusses the ways in which these women are leading a change not only for female soccer players, but for their region as a whole. [Posted by Maxi]  

Turkey’s Women Lead a Regional Transition

“We’re focused on sports, not politics. We don’t deny that we are Kurds. But when we play, we never say, ‘We are Kurds and they are Turks.’” - Tahir Temel

Sitting in an especially tense region of Southern Turkey, Hakkari is a province trailed by hardships. From widespread unemployment to ongoing clashes between Kurdish and Turkish forces, life is precarious. More so, for women who reside in the region, one in which stories of forced marriages and honor killings are not unusual. And yet, despite these hurdles, a group of women have found empowerment through soccer. Since debuting in 2008, Hakkari Power, a team filled with local women, has sped through promotions, last season becoming the only team in the entirety of Turkey to finish their year without conceding a goal. More importantly, women have from the side have found opportunities through the club, one in which ethnicity and cultural background are insignificant, with several gaining roles in Turkey’s national youth team and more finding scholarships with local universities. 

In this article from Time Magazine, Piotr Zalewski discusses the ways in which these women are leading a change not only for female soccer players, but for their region as a whole. [Posted by Maxi]  

Through Ryu’s Lens: Turkish giants take Germany

The Bundesliga’s stature in world football continues to rise, and Schalke were slight favourites to join Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. But with Burak Yilmaz, Wesley Sneijder, and Didier Drogba leading them forward after a 1-1 draw in Istanbul, Galatasaray rose to the challenge at the Veltins-Arena, clinching an emphatic 3-2 victory on German soil. Ryu was on the scene to catch the Turkish giants sailing into the deep waters that await in the quarterfinals.

Interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his Flickr. Posted by Eric.

Through Ryu’s Lens: The Champions League welcomes back Didier

The last time Didier Drogba kicked a ball in the Champions League, it was a cool penalty that allowed Chelsea to win the competition for the first time in the club’s history. So when Drogba landed in Turkey after an extremely lucrative and tumultuous 8 month trip to Shanghai, excitement was in the air as he could continue his already legendary career with Galatasaray. The Turkish giants welcomed Schalke in the round of 16, and Ryu was in town to capture the Ivorian making his return on the continent’s greatest stage.

Interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and check his Flickr. Posted by Eric.

The unexpected rise of Tolgay Arslan

By Ross Dunbar

It could have panned out very differently for Tolgay Arslan. On September 22nd, 2012, he could have been kitted in the ‘schwarz-gelb’, the black and yellow of Borussia Dortmund, to take on Hamburg SV. Instead, he played a vital role in the downfall of his former club, which he left three years ago, producing a domineering performance to leave ‘die Borussen’ licking their wounds.

The match resulted 3-2 for Hamburg and more importantly, they terminated their opponent’s 31-game Bundesliga unbeaten streak. Although the performances of Van der Vaart and two-goal hero Son Heung-Mi attracted most attention, Arslan’s display certainly pleased coach Thorsten Frink, who could not hide his delight at the adaptability in the young midfielder, which he highlighted: "Tolgay [Arslan] showed that he also can work so well on the defensive side and that has really surprised me.”

Arslan’s developing into a fine well-round midfielder, and his defensive game has complemented his dynamic offensive play very well. In the match against Dortmund, his presence was well noted: running 11.6km, executing 15 successful tackles and completing 83% of his passes. A set of strong stats from the prospering player and things can only get better for him, which was not expected. But so is Hamburg’s start to the season.

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After 8 wonderful years, Alex leaves Turkey and his statue behind on sour terms

By Jack Lang

“I’ve never cried as much as I did this week,” he sighed as the camera bulbs flashed. He won’t have been the only one. After a fruitful eight-year romance, Brazilian playmaker Alex finalised his departure from Fenerbahçe this week, leaving fans in Turkey to lament the loss of one of its biggest sporting stars.

The last few months, he admitted in almost excruciating detail, had been defined by a cooling in relations with the club. Dropped without explanation ahead of a Champions League qualifier, Alex was later told by coach Aykut Kocaman that “there cannot be two leaders in the dressing room”.

Alex hit out at Kocaman with a message to a Brazilian friend on Twitter, claiming that the manager was “jealous” of his status at the club. This, as he admitted this week, was a mistake, and was seized upon by the Turkish media. The fall-out snowballed, revealing an on-off (mostly off) relationship with Fener president Aziz Yildirim and culminating in a divorce few saw coming.

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It was ladies and children under-12 night in the Fenerbahce vs. Maispor game due to a ban on men handed down by the Turkish FA due to a violent pitch invasion that occurred during a pre-season friendly. Our friends at Soccerpolitics wrote a great analysis of the meaning behind the night’s events. How about that atmosphere?

(Source: cheekychip)

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