When Nationalism and Internationals collide

Perhaps I'm alone in finding something deeply dysfunctional about Uefa's reaction to the Turkish team's so-called 'military' salute in recognition of their troops in Syria.

Turkish soccer players, with Cenk Tosun (#9) front and centre, celebrate their 1-0 win against Albania during a Euro 2020 Group H qualifying soccer match in Istanbul's Ulker Stadium, Friday, 11 October, 2019.
There has to be something deeply dysfunctional about Uefa's reaction to the Turkish team's so-called 'military' salute in recognition of their troops in Syria, widely publicised by Everton striker Cenk Tosun putting photographs of the team doing their salute on his Instagram page.

We are talking International Football here, where sparring football sides have largley taken the place of warring nations... yet they still sing their National Anthems, and march out under their national flag, joined by a common bond of national identity and language in a pursuit where their nationhood is kind of the whole point of playing these particular games.

The original celebration, after defeating Albania 1-0, has been viewed as "political" and thus condemned by Uefa, who are "investigating" the incident and the team. Yet the Turkish players have defiantly repeated the now 'criminal' act of supporting their own troops. Strange... if you live in America, land of the free and home of the brave, "support for the troops" is universally mandatory, instilled at every level of society. Why is it then condemned in Turkey?

Yes, the action of the Turkish government against the Kurdish strongholds in northeast Syria may seem excessive or unjustified to the outside world, ironically precipitated by the action of American President Trump in removing a few hundred 'advisors' from the region. But to the Turks, Kurdish Nationalism has been a thorn in their side for decades.

The real fault for that probably goes back to the British and the highly arbitrary historic drawing of national boundaries in the Middle East that created Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran... but strangely not Kurdistan. So the Kurds, arbitrarily denied national heritage or identity granted to more than 200 nations across the world, arbitrarily denied their own football team to compete in Uefa or Fifa sanctioned competitions, repeatedly get caught between those who do have nation status: Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

This has almost nothing to do with football, or does it? The fact that we play International football games has an awful lot to do with footall. The Euros, the League of Nations, Copa Libertadores, the World Cup... all based fundamentally on national identity. Yet, an expression of national identity and solidarity with the troops of that nation is condemned as 'political'?

The real crime here is surely that the Kurds have never been granted nationhood. For that, all the members of the club of nations in New York should shoulder the guilt.

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 14/10/2019 at 19:27:39
Major political controversy brewing around Cenk Tosun, who posted on Instagram in support of Turkey's military incursion against the Kurds (shockingly abandoned last week by the US Coward-In-Chief) and was initially supported by German internationals Ilkay Gundogan and Emre Can.


Tosun posted a photo showing him and other Turkey internationals saluting fans in support of the Turkish army's offensive against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces after the Euro 2020 qualifying win against Albania.

Tosun wrote on Instagram: "For our nation, especially for the ones who are risking their lives for our nation."

Several civilians and fighters have been killed in ongoing military actions and several European states, including Germany, have blocked sales to Turkey.

The Turkish Football Federation also posted an image on their Instagram showing players and staff saluting in the dressing room.

Although reports said UEFA will probe the incidents, European football's governing body told ESPN FC it could "not confirm" that because they had not yet received the match official's report from Friday's game.

Meanwhile, the salute and its digital imprint has led to more controversy in the Germany camp, just over a year after Mesut Ozil quit the national team after a heated debate over a picture showing the Arsenal star, Gundogan and Tosun with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

At the weekend, Tosun's post was liked by Germany internationals Gundogan and Can -- an action they quickly amended.

However, that was enough to stir up another debate over Germany national team players with Turkish backgrounds.

"I took the like back when I saw that it was judged to be political," Gundogan said in a statement published in parts by kicker. "Trust me: The last thing I wanted to do is make a political statement after what happened last year."

"What is true is that I was pleased for my former Germany U21 teammate that he scored the winning goal," Gundogan added.

Following the 3-0 win, he doubled down on his explanation and told reporters he had no "political intention" when liking Tosun's post.

Earlier, Can had told Bild that he unintentionally liked the post while scrolling through his timeline, and added he is against any war. Both players were backed by Germany coach Joachim Low, who said postmatch that the likes were "in no case a political statement." He added: "If you know those players, you'll know that they are against war and terror."

Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff added: "Many players on this world liked that post. And you can't allege that all of them are in favour of war and terror."

Bundesliga 2 club FC St. Pauli, meanwhile, have released Turkish midfielder Cenk Sahin with immediate effect following an internal review. On Friday, the 25-year-old former Turkey Under-21 international voiced sympathies with the Turkish army's military action in an Instagram story.

The club said they made their decision based on the player's "repeated disregard for the club values" but also to "protect the player." They added: "Without any discussion and without any doubt we oppose acts of war. Those and solidarity for them fundamentally contradict the values of the club."

Paul Tran
2 Posted 14/10/2019 at 19:40:09
Probably only controversial outside Turkey, Mike.
Stephen Davies
3 Posted 15/10/2019 at 09:45:53

St Pauli sacked a player for supporting it:


Kevin O'Regan
4 Posted 15/10/2019 at 10:48:13
Whether we like it or not the ugly face of politics has invaded football once more and I for one would like to see EFC take a clear stand on their players public dispays of political affiliation. Many clubs here have done it in Germany and distanced themselves from the players' actions.

Yes, we shouldn't be talking politics here, but simply by ignoring it won't make it go away. Address it clearly in public and directly to the players involved and if they continue to get distracted from football by politics, twitter or other social media or even their social life (ie, Jordan) then fine them heavily.

Robin Bateman
5 Posted 15/10/2019 at 15:44:01
Just saw pics of Tosun saluting after the Turkey France game in support of the Turkish invasion of Syria against the Kurds who were major players in defeating Isis. If that's how he feels, he can do one as far as I am concerned. A player supporting the killing of innocents and children should not have a place in our club.
Tony Marsh
6 Posted 15/10/2019 at 16:06:51
Can't we now sack Tosun for these bigoted actions and get him off the payroll? Let's have it right, Tosun is another Niasse. No other club will buy him, just out on loan while we pay wages until contract runs out. Sack him now. Supporting the murder of women and kids. Tosun is a scumbag.
Martin Mason
7 Posted 15/10/2019 at 19:37:51
People go on forever about a state for Palestinians but their claim is nothing compared to that of the Kurds. I worked in Iraqi Kurdistan for a few years though and they were cold about joining a Nation with the Turkish and Syrian Kurds because these two are extreme left wing and much poorer than the Iraqi Kurds who are sitting on a fair amount of oil.
Brent Stephens
8 Posted 15/10/2019 at 19:38:59
MK. You’re not alone in that sentiment. Count me in.
Jay Harris
9 Posted 15/10/2019 at 20:03:17
It seems that, following peace for so many years since the Second World War, Nationalism is now rearing its ugly head again and causing major divisions within the world.

Neo-nazis popping up everywhere and mass shootings of minorities. Why can't people just accept what they have and get on with each other?

As for Tosun pulling that stunt while women and kids are innocently slaughtered, I've got to say I have no time for him now.

Andy Crooks
10 Posted 15/10/2019 at 21:01:39
The Turkish action in my view is the equivalent of the sad jingoism of Italy's "war" with Abyssinia. I agree with Mike Gaynes that it is down to the beast in the Whitehouse. However, Tosun, would be a brave man to say "I will not salute the ridiculous band of fascist fuckers."

International football means nothing to me. It is a dead concept bringing nothing but sick nationalism and the utterly ludicrous idea that the accident of where you were born might make you superior.

God almighty, look at the bunch of sad specimens marching out of the Bulgaria game. The "master race" indeed. Their anonymous, pathetic Nazi salutes were risable. Just as pathetic and toe curling as the Turks.

Poor Tosun, he will have to remove every mirror in his house.

Pat Finegan
11 Posted 15/10/2019 at 21:17:07
There are a couple sides to this. I think we need to ask ourselves what level of courage and political informedness do we expect our players to have.

What Turkey is doing to the Kurds is not excusable. Support of that action is not acceptable. Their military supporting is not fighting for the people of Turkey. They're fighting for the Turkish government to subjugate others for political gain.

That said, in the NBA here in the US, we've seen evidence of how dangerous it is to stand up to the Turkish government, so I wouldn't fault Tosun for not denouncing their actions. Enes Kanter of the Boston Celtics (and several others prior to that) has seen his passport revoked, father thrown in prison, family banned from leaving Turkey, an international warrant issued for his arrest, and so on. It takes more courage than most of us realize to stand up for what's right in that situation and it affects more people than just the person taking action. If Tosun's motivation is to protect his family in Turkey, I don't think it's the right thing to do, personally, but I don't think it's a ridiculous decision either.

The club needs to make a statement, not denouncing Tosun personally, but making it clear that his actions are not aligned with the club's values. If that means parting ways with Tosun without getting a fee for him, so be it. I mean, I don't see him staying past this season anyway, so is the fee we would get worth more than the club's dignity? I think not.

John Keating
12 Posted 15/10/2019 at 21:19:28
So the FA get fined because our rabble boo the Bulgarian anthem.

The dickhead of a Bulgarian manager is the only person in the world who didn't hear any racial remarks during the game.

Many of our lads lost their lives in a war based on lies, do we dishonour them when the arseholes who knowingly led us at the time are making a fortune on the international speaking circuit?

Best us keeping out of politics and concentrating on footy and what's best for us and the players... People in glass houses and all that.

Pat Finegan
13 Posted 15/10/2019 at 21:21:15
Or what about fans making a banner supporting the Kurds? I don't support football as a place for political statements, but there's a difference between politics and human rights. I think the Turkish action in the region crosses the line into a human rights problem, which I wouldn't have any issue with supporters collectively opposing.
Alan McGuffog
15 Posted 15/10/2019 at 22:17:52
I am not making any comment in support of the actions of Cenk Tosun. In an ideal world, sport and politics would be strangers. It is not an ideal world.

I holiday in Turkey a lot and have made some good friends there. The country is riven between those who revere Kemal Ataturk, father of modern Turkey, and those who support Erdogan, who appears intent on turning Turkey into a Sunni version of Iran.

What unites both groups is a fervent national pride. Whilst Kurds live, largely peaceably throughout the country, there has been a conflict with the PKK, Kurdish separatists, in the South East for over 40 years. This conflict has resulted in many thousands of casualties and deaths. Hundreds of Turkish conscripts have died as well as Kurdish civilians.

The Turks tend to view Kurds throughout the region as all wanting the creation of Kurdistan (something Britain promised to help great 100 years ago).

I'm not trying to justify Tosun's actions in the slightest, or to defend Turkey's foreign policy. What I am saying is that things are never that black and white.

World is going to hell on a handcart, that I do believe.

Kiern Moran
16 Posted 15/10/2019 at 22:20:00
This from a country that is yet to recognise the genocide they committed in Armenia. I fear for the Kurds. Tosun is a young man going along with his peers. Generally, I would prefer to keep football out of politics.
Jer Kiernan
17 Posted 15/10/2019 at 22:21:10
We can't control what players do or say on social media unless they bring the game into disrepute (whatever that means); however, football and sport itself should always try to stay out of politics

Edorgan is swamp life, there is no doubt, and his action against the Kurds is repugnant. He is rolling that country back to the dark ages.

"Neo-nazis popping up everywhere and mass shootings of minorities." You are of course correct – extreme nationalism is on the rise and very worrying but there is also no shortage of Jihadis carrying out mass shooting etc which for some reason cannot or will not get discussed in an adult manner, this is very much as big a problem.

Any and all dogmatic belief systems that makes the protagonists feel they are superior to their fellow human being needs to be stood up to at every turn by any and all enlightened and respectful peacful peoples

Anybody at all who would take a life because of some ideology they hold should be put under the microscopes and held accountable i feel

Steve Brown
18 Posted 15/10/2019 at 22:33:25
The incursion to create the 20-mile buffer zone has already displaced 180,000 people. Erdogan then plans to dump the 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey back into that zone. If we are okay with one of our players saluting this, then no problem. I am not and think we should sack Tosun, as some posters have suggested.
Kieran Kinsella
19 Posted 15/10/2019 at 22:36:15
Going back to the Munich Olympics, the sports authorities have never covered themselves in glory.

More recently, slave labour is used to build stadiums in Qatar, Mikhatarian missed the Europa League Final because it's in Azerbaijan, FIFA allow North Korea to ban fans and TV from their game with South Korea, the Anti-Serb Eagle boys get no more than a slap on the wrist. It's a sorry legacy.

Kiern Moran
20 Posted 15/10/2019 at 22:37:09
Steve Brown, you have convinced me, even though we do need goals. I would prefer a fire sale.
Peter Gorman
21 Posted 15/10/2019 at 23:04:59
I'm going to take a wild stab here and guess that none of the posters above are exactly experts in the regional politics of Kurdistan.

There are a great many layers to un-peel in the Turkish players gesture; it could be as simple as "support the troops" or a full-blown endorsement of Erdogan. None of us know, except the players.

It seems a bit unrealistic to expect Tosun not to support his country. I would rather he didn't in this instance but calling for him to be sacked seems a bit shrill.

Jay Harris
22 Posted 15/10/2019 at 23:44:58

You don't have to recognize politics in the region to see that this is a clear case of attempted genocide, just like Hitler's invasion of Poland and other dictators' attempts at ethnic cleansing.


I think the Jihadi thing is a different matter and much more worrying. Jihadi culture comes from teachings that encourage hatred of the Western world and is more religion-based.

The fascist movements we are seeing all over the world are more nationalistic and divisive within our own cultures.

Kieran Kinsella
23 Posted 15/10/2019 at 23:59:57
Surprised Luis Suarez hasn't invaded Syria yet. All the other scum bags are involved. Maybe he doesn't want to bite off more than he can chew...
Jer Kiernan
24 Posted 16/10/2019 at 00:47:38
I wont argue with anything you say but I tend to think we can all agree there is a Neo-Nazi issue and get a pat on the back for same, but the elephant in the room never gets a mention ( I would suggest what Erdogan has/is up to is very much connected to same)

Am no expert but am aware this will the 2nd genocide ( that I am aware of foisted upon the Kurds) by facist Thugs ( Hussein being the other) and coming from a man who spoke to 10s of thousands of Turks in Germany telling them not to assimilate, He has purged decenting journalists in Turkey and is dragging them back to the dark ages as I said previous, thats enough info for me thanks

Also is a football forum so the chance of finding an expert on the complexities of the plight of the Kurd is slim i would suggest

Mike Gaynes
25 Posted 16/10/2019 at 01:02:45
Alan #15 and Martin #7, thank you for your perspectives. Always valuable to hear from those who know some of the people involved.

Andy #10, Pat #11 and Peter #21, good posts regarding the complexities here of which we know little. I would just point out that there's a broad expanse of middle ground between out-and-out support of Erdogan's ethnic facism and calling your own troops, in Andy's words, "fascist fuckers." We don't know where Tosun stands on that spectrum, but this certainly wasn't a good look.

Bill Watson
26 Posted 16/10/2019 at 01:15:01
Andy #10

I fully agree. I wouldn't cross the road to see an international match.

Derek Thomas
27 Posted 16/10/2019 at 01:42:07
I suspect there is no 'right answer' or post to this question.

The whole thing is not helped by Trump and his twitter diplomacy. I also suspect that the Turkish President is cut from the same cloth as Mugabe and others and Turkish nationals both home and abroard have to tread very carefully.

Since 1914 (at least) the whole Balkan / Near East / Middle East has been one big wack-a-mole problem... Princip anyone?

Steve Ferns
28 Posted 16/10/2019 at 03:09:12
Don’t know enough about it to properly comment. But it doesn’t look good. Also, isn’t Tosun German born?
Derek Knox
29 Posted 16/10/2019 at 03:41:32
I believe in general, most people go to a football match, whether it be their 'bread and butter' team's match, home or away, or an International Match, to get away from the rigours of life and politics.

So do they need reminding by high profile players or Managers, who are in the public eye via Television, of the political problems that are affecting that country, or even the World at that particular time?

I think as Andy Crooks suggested and many others have too, that Internationals are nowhere near as popular as they used to be, in fact they are bloody disruptive to the normal season. With so many International Breaks, many at a crucial time when a team has either built momentum or, as in our case, struggling for goals and points, do we really need another hiatus?

Then there is the added possibility of key players being injured whilst on International Duty, which is another problem to deal with, and could well be a nail in the coffin for sides if the season is nearing it's end.

Even the World Cup has lost a lot of its appeal, which thankfully is only once every four years, and while I appreciate it is an honour for a player to represent his National side and gain a 'cap', it is certainly not what it used to be.

Simon Dalzell
30 Posted 16/10/2019 at 03:43:14
This disgusts me. Well said Steve # 18 and Jay # 22. I would kick Tosun's sorry arse out immediately.
Darren Hind
31 Posted 16/10/2019 at 04:25:45
Andy @10

Get paid

Ajay Gopal
32 Posted 16/10/2019 at 06:30:51
Interesting thread, and let me wade into it by throwing in a hypothetical scenario:

Imagine Everton are leading the Premier League table (ha.. ha..) and we have a shot at the title for the first time in donkeys years. And Cenk Tosun is our star player (our own Mo Salah, if you like – again, ha.. ha.. ha..) and our title hopes would vanish into thin air if he were to be banned. Hands on hearts, would the folks here calling for him to be banned still maintain their stance in such a (hypothetical) situation? Or would they look the other way?

{By the way, in this particular case, I think I can sympathise with Tosun's stand – he would be risking everything for himself, his family – if he were alone in NOT joining in the salute while all his teammates are doing it. Instead of focusing on individual players, the easy thing for UEFA to do would be to censure the Turkish FA, and dock them for points. In fact, the rules should be that ANY team whose members make a political gesture/statement should be immediately penalised. Now if that means not playing the National Anthems, then so be it.}

Alan J Thompson
33 Posted 16/10/2019 at 06:41:14
None of it is easy or straight forward and if FIFA and UEFA treat national FAs differently then questions should be asked or is it a question of sport interfering with politics?

I can't say I'm full bottle on the history between these countries but how many think there should be one Ireland or independent Scotland and Wales? May be doing away with national anthems might be a start but wouldn't that lead to ending international matches? Or perhaps we do away with political borders altogether and take up Esperanto?

Politics, and they say they represent the people, or in this case is it the people representing the politicians. The only thing we can be sure of is that a lot more innocent people will lose their lives in these conflicts.

Shane Corcoran
34 Posted 16/10/2019 at 07:06:12
"For our nation, especially for the ones who are risking their lives for our nation." That's what Tosun posted.

Next thing he'll be wearing a symbol on his jersey in memory of all his comrades who have died in various wars across the month of November.

I find it amazing every year that there are members of the British armed forces walking on to football pitches, being applauded by one and all (except James McClean) as heroes. Yet here we are, some of us, looking for Tosun to be sacked.

John Keating
35 Posted 16/10/2019 at 07:25:57
We really do have enough issues in football itself without bringing in local, national and international politics

Countries not allowing women into stadia. Racism.

I appreciate it's difficult, however, we must try and keep football, and all sports outside of politics. Protection of players and enjoyment of supporters must be the aim.

However, it doesn't help when it's run by the inept and corrupt UEFA, FIFA and national associations.

Tony Abrahams
36 Posted 16/10/2019 at 07:30:15
Tosun was not alone looking at the picture of the whole squad saluting in the changing rooms after the France game, but Erdogan is a mass dictator, and these footballers were representing the Country which he dictates with an iron rod.

It's a very bad and even sadder situation but, with Russia, set to intervene, I wonder how much of this was decided between Trump, Putin and Erdogan before this outrage began?

Kevin O'Regan
37 Posted 16/10/2019 at 07:38:22
For all the above reasons of ignorance, grey areas and complicated issues (like Shane mentions with Rememberance Day) it is important that our club, players and fans stay completly focused on football.

It is never black and white, but this is Tosun's third or fourth time to publicly show his political convictions while being an Everton player. It was his photo with Erdogan (and Ozil and Gungodan) last year which caused huge waves here in Germany eventually leading to Ozil's retirement from international football. But I never saw anything back then from our Club on our player's involvement.

I hope we take a clear and strong stance on mixing politics and football and instead rise above such polarisation of any kind. Football or sport in general can, must and should be the uniting force to keep us all from becoming affected by such small-minded thinking.

Alexander Murphy
38 Posted 16/10/2019 at 08:26:08
Ajay @32, the greatest crime of humanity is not that evil people perform wicked acts. It is that knowing this that supposedly "good people" do nothing.

The Bulgarian manager "heard nothing". He's lying.

Everton need to demand a full explanation from Cenk Tosun regarding his actions. He needs to clearly justify his "celebratory action" to his employer. Then the club need to make a public statement.

Stephen @3, St. Pauli are a club for whom I have the utmost respect and sincerely believe that Everton should learn everything from.
I said this in My response to "Project Goodison" and the legacy of "God's Acre" when we (unfortunately) leave Mere Green Field.

The utter irony of International Football is that it supposedly draws nations together both as the country themselves and the opposing nations. A friendly encounter allowing and promoting cross cultural exchanges.

Yet, our representatives (fans mostly, but not solely) disgrace us time and again with behaviour that is unrepresentative, and shameful for our nation.
Do our player, coaches and officials denounce them ? No. No they never do.

What you permit, you ultimately promote.

I love Everton and I take real pride in the efforts of EiTC. Great stuff. Our players should take far more LEADERSHIP in EiTC's work. It should be part of their terms of employment.

I find modern footballers "goal celebrations" utterly fucking toe curling. Their contrived pantomime dance routines only serve to illustrate just how removed these overpaid cretins are from real life.

Don't let us be surprised that they eventually start supporting fascism and genocide. We sit by and feast their egos on a weakly basis. We are to blame for creating such "Idols".

Eddie Dunn
39 Posted 16/10/2019 at 09:23:04
I have worked with many Kurds in Azerbaijan, and though they were mistrusted by many of the Azeris, I found them to be very friendly hardworking people.

The calls from some on here to sack Tosun, I find ridiculous. The world view from the Turkish population is very different from our own. Rightly or wrongly, they see the PKK as a domestic threat and equate the Kurdish forces in Syria with the same threat. They also refuse to believe in the Armenian genocide.

They may be ignorant or misguided but the salutes in the dressing room can be simply taken as support for their brothers in the conflict. This is a country that still has compulsory National Military Service amongst their compatriots. Therefore they are saluting many of their friends and family, and as footballers, they can pay a fee and be exempt from it.

So, with this in mind, as long as he doesn't start saluting in an Everton shirt, it's up to him.

Amit Vithlani
40 Posted 16/10/2019 at 09:24:28
Footballing authorities, be it the DFB, FIFA or UEFA have shown themselves to be thoroughly useless at creating a consistent boundary.

Shaqiri and Xhaka made provocative gestures in the World Cup game between Switzerland and Albania and escaped bans - being handed fines only.

Ozil was publicly reprimanded by the DFB in a strongly worded condemnation which resulted in his retirement. If Tosun faces a ban instead of a fine then we should wonder why some political actions are deemed less provocative than others.

If you are going to impose sanctions, do it across the board on an equal basis, and set the boundary that politics has no place on the football pitch.

If you are going to allow people to show their political leanings then it cannot be one rule for some and one rule for others.

Peter Gorman
41 Posted 16/10/2019 at 09:42:55
Jer @24,

Exactly! This is a football site so it'd be quite something to find anybody informed on all the complexities of the region, and yet there are several posters who feel confident enough in their limited knowledge to call for our player to be sacked on the spot! Utterly ridiculous.

Anyhow, I'm breaking my own cardinal rule of not getting political on a sport site, there are enough footballing things to set one fan at anothers throat (I'm looking at you, Marco Silva).

Duncan McDine
42 Posted 16/10/2019 at 10:02:27
I think the scene from Borat (at the rodeo) is a great example of why sport/entertainment and the support of war shouldn’t mix. He made not only a brilliant, funny film, but also highlighted the ignorance of the masses. The line “all other countries are run by little girls” to the tune of the US national anthem still cracks me up!
Eddie Dunn
43 Posted 16/10/2019 at 10:14:03
Amit, we could also ban the ridiculous religious gesturing by players on their way on to the pitch and during celebrations, an incongruous practice which simply annoys me.
Michael Lynch
44 Posted 16/10/2019 at 10:38:23
What happened to a good firm handshake and maybe a little pat on the back? Bloody modern footballers, bunch of wankers. Ban all stupid dances, pointing to the sky, gang-style finger gestures, and general arse wiggling.

Steve Ferns
45 Posted 16/10/2019 at 10:59:25
The point over Tuson's nationality is that, if he was indeed German until the age of 21, then switched to his parents' country, then how much of this is naivety? Unlike the other high profile Germans with Turkish parents from the last incident (Ozil, the city fella, Can) Tosun is the only one to represent Turkey.

The Turkish President seems all-controlling. How much of a hand did he have in this? Did he suggest the actions as a way of sending a message to his nation? Erdogan seems like a man you cannot say no to. Events after the recent uprising showed what he's capable of.

There's so much we don't know here and I think it would be foolish to judge. I would hope the club sit down with Tosun and discuss the matter. It certainly does not reflect well on us.

Alan McGuffog
46 Posted 16/10/2019 at 11:15:17
Eddie you echo the sentiments I made earlier in this thread. Things are never black and white and to start bandying words like fascist is foolish.

Turkey is a “young” nation and although the country is riven between traditional Ataturk supporters and those embracing Erdogan's programme, people will rally around the flag. Rightly or wrongly.

There is conscription / national service and thousands of service personnel have perished in the conflict with PKK-supporting Kurds. Many just young men called up to the forces.

I do not support the actions of Erdogan either in his domestic policy or his foreign. But I recall the words of a wiser man than me... ”One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter”.

The intricacies of history in that part of the world defies our comprehension. Here's an example.

I have had countless conversations with Turks, old and young, liberal and traditional. The one thing they all clam up about and deny is that a genocide was ever carried out against the Armenians in 1915 in spite of incontrovertible evidence. After hundreds of thousands were shot, hanged or starved, the surviving Armenians were marched to the deserts to the south east. Thousands starved en route. Thousands were preyed upon, robbed and murdered by Kurds.

A final point in my ramblings: Noraid, in the USA, collected funds for IRA during the troubles. The Provos were noble freedom fighters against an imperialist power. Try explaining that to the families of those kids killed in the Birmingham pub bombings.

Eddie Dunn
47 Posted 16/10/2019 at 11:48:02
Alan, we are in general agreement on the complex nature of the Turkish-Kurd conflict. Indeed the "troubles" in the North of Ireland are confusing to many in Great Britain and even more so to people from overseas.

On a lighter note...

I do wonder though, in our society whether some people are waiting to be offended? I would bet that our own Tim Cahill's boxing routine would these days be construed by some as encouraging violence! I seem to remember forwards scoring goals and shooting imaginary guns.

Rocking imaginary babies after a goal is scored today would be tantamount to encouraging over-enthusiastic crib-rocking. Bebeto watch-out.

Steve Ferns
48 Posted 16/10/2019 at 12:04:39
Eddie, remember when Cahill made the handcuffs gesture in solidarity with his brother who had just been jailed or something, and he was condemned for condoning his crimes?
Eddie Dunn
49 Posted 16/10/2019 at 12:57:59
Ah, yes Steve! Timmy liked his gestures. I think it was GBH that his bro' was accused of.
Eric Myles
50 Posted 16/10/2019 at 13:47:12
I'm with Shane #34, if we don't want politics in sport, and a show of support for one's military is considered a political gesture, then we shouldn't have poppy day infringe on the pitches of England for 2 or 3 weeks in November.
Eric Myles
51 Posted 16/10/2019 at 14:13:12
And talking about sportsmen showing support for their military, aren't the Americans the most jingoistic in this respect?

And didn't England get fined by FIFA for wearing poppies on their shirts?

Jay Wood

52 Posted 16/10/2019 at 14:14:29
There is indeed a great deal of irony and hypocrisy in the UEFA's questioning of 'political statements' at an international sports event as Michael's excellent opening post questions.

Putting aside the considerable question of nationhood and the (often arbitrary) drawing of national boundaries for a moment, lest we forget, the original Olympic games is (wrongly!) believed to have been a four-yearly meeting of Greek city states to pit their finest athletes against each other in which any conflicts or wars were suspended.

Whilst it was often an opportunity for rulers to meet and discuss, to make alliances and resolve issues, there most certainly were conflicts and battles at the games themselves, not least power grab attempts to establish rule over the site to gain the prestige and financial advantages the location brought.

Now many may wish to deny it, but politics impacts on every aspect of our daily lives. Nationhood (and religion) is fundamental in upholding - justifying, even - a country's political policies. Football, the authorities, the players and coaches, we the fans, are not exempt from such political influence.

If UEFA was true to its mandate, it would take issue with the direct intervention of the Bulgarian President who yesterday morning declared the head of the Bulgarian FA should resign. A few hours later he did just that. By UEFA and FIFA's own constitution they clearly state that there should be no government or state interference or influence in the administration of national federations. They do and have suspended many a nation for non-compliance of this statute.

Of course, given the rabid racism of the previous evening, UEFA would be held up to ridicule if they rigorously applied this rule. But it is an example on the 'flexibility' of such rulings and judgements.

Like others in this thread I have also worked in the region. I can honestly say, hand on heart, both the Kurds and Iraqis are the finest, the most friendly, the most generous people I have ever met. And I've travelled to 70+ countries. It is all the more remarkable to me that they are and were so kind to Westerners, given both recent and more distant history and how the West have treated both peoples and their nations.

I will close this post with a couple of observations:

I first learnt the word 'jingoism' during the Falklands War. Unlike the overwhelming majority in the UK at the time, I expressed a deep disquiet at the conflict and saw it as an opportunist war between two political dictators in which the losers would be the winners. And so it proved. It was the beginning of the end of military dictatorships in Latin America. The UK - arguably to this day - continues to pay the price of Thatcherism.

No one and no tabloid waved the flag higher or beat the drum louder than the despicable Kelvin MacKenzie at The Sun. Who remembers the headline 'GOTCHA!' with a picture of the Argentinian boat Belgrano being hit by a missle? Never mind that 1200 lives went down with that boat when it was sailing AWAY from the conflict area.

The 'STICK IT UP YOUR JUNTA' teeshirts the Sun profited from, based on another crass headline. Or reporting the conflict like (ironically, given the topic of this thread) a game of football? 'ENGLAND 6 ARGIES 0' (in reference to targets downed or captured).

Secondly, on the issue of Tosun and his team mates saluting their front line troops. You cannot underestimate the influence of peer pressure, education and media reporting of events.

You can rest assured that the Turkish education system will not offer a balanced and neutral report of the country's acts towards the Armenians or the Kurds. The media will be as jingoistic as MacKenzie's Sun was during the Falklands war. Some of the players will almost certainly have friends and family members serving in the (conscripted) Turkish military. They may even have served time in the military themselves.

The much deeper question that needs challenging to me is not whether it is worthy of an Everton player to do this and whether to cancel his contract with immediate effect, but the more disturbing rise of nationalism and protectionism which has echoes of the rise of facism and nazism in the 1930s which led to global conflict.

This opportunist land grab by Erdogan is a direct result from a brief phone call between himself and the very, very dangerous imbecile in the White House. Against all advice, without consulting with his advisors, Trump casually agreed to withdraw US troops from the region, allowing Turkish tanks to roll in.

Such is the Brave New World in which we live in.

Kieran Kinsella
53 Posted 16/10/2019 at 15:07:48

My favorite inflammatory celebration (despite the context with the team) was Robbie Fowler's sniffing the white line. Can you imagine if that happened now? Fowler would have to go on a national "Just say No" tour with Zammo from Grange Hill.

Rob Marsh
54 Posted 16/10/2019 at 19:55:04
Michael Kenrick

"The real crime here is surely that the Kurds have never been granted nationhood. For that, all the members of the club of nations in New York should shoulder the guilt."

Michael, may I suggest to you that Palestine has a rightful place alongside Kurdish issue, it may actual be a UN reckognised nation already, but it also has suffered an unconscionable occupation in full view and acquiescence of the UN.

Alan Bodell
55 Posted 16/10/2019 at 23:35:47
Well, the Kurdish men and women fighters lost many fighting to get rid of ISIS for the benefit of mankind then Erdogan smashes into them, crazy world that we let these brave people who were allied with us weeks ago be humiliated and killed by an egoistic tyrant that so many Turks tried in a coup not so long ago tried to oust him and his purge is still ongoing, wonder how many are still in jail or worse.
Ian Linn
56 Posted 17/10/2019 at 05:42:42
Jay Wood, 323 drowned with the Belgrano not the 1,200 you mentioned.

In 2003, the ship's captain Hector Bonzo confirmed that General Belgrano had actually been maneuvering, not "sailing away" from the exclusion zone, and had orders to sink "any British ship he could find".

John G Davies
57 Posted 17/10/2019 at 06:17:55
The order to sink the Belgrano came from Thatcher. It was a political decision from her.
Playing on words does not justify the order.

What difference is there between sailing away from the exclusion zone and "manoeuvring away from the exclusion zone"?

Stan Schofield
58 Posted 17/10/2019 at 09:55:39
For me, football is simply a form of entertainment, and when I watch a game I often switch off the sound, so as not to have to listen to anything that might divert me from the actual football. The downside is you lose the atmosphere of the game, but the upside is a sharper focus on the football.

Outside of football, life and politics are far more important, since people's lives are more important than 22 blokes kicking a leather sphere.

If I were to start questioning Tosun's actions outside of his actual playing of football, I would probably continue the process logically, and question many other aspects of top-level football that are of very questionable ethics, and I would probably stop watching football altogether.

Jerome Shields
60 Posted 17/10/2019 at 11:52:37
It is natural that nationalism, will come to the fore at the high profile international level. But a player has to be careful, not to get himself into the situation, where he is falling into. pawn territory. Getting himself caught up in the propaganda of the situation. At the end
of the day when he crosses that line he will find himself alone and unsupported.
Tosun needs to concentraten on his playing Club career
Jim Knightley
61 Posted 17/10/2019 at 12:19:25
Erdogan is a fascist - I had a friend who was affected by his early political purging of the education system in Turkey. Thousands of academics were unjustly removed from their positions - many had passports removed and some were imprisoned. All for holding opposing political views.

The current conflict deserves widespread outcry and we should criticise a player who openly supports such an oppressive individual and regime. It is potentially problematic, as others have remarked, to define what political expressions should and should not he allowed on a football pitch. But I think most of us can agree that supporting an authoritarian regime committing human rights atrocities is something to stand against. We wouldnt want an Everton player supporting Nazis after all.

Eric Myles
62 Posted 17/10/2019 at 13:57:05
Jerome #60, Tosun doesn't have a playing club career.
Mick Davies
63 Posted 17/10/2019 at 16:06:10
" if you live in America, land of the free and home of the brave, "support for the troops" is universally mandatory"
Is that a serious statement or just a bit of satire? If this kind of act is acceptable then why are we criticising the Bulgarian fans for giving the Nazi salute?
Kieran Kinsella
64 Posted 17/10/2019 at 16:29:42
Mick Davies 63

It's bizarre but true. They play the national anthem before anything and everything. I was angrily confronted by a middle aged veteran two weeks ago for "not supporting the troops." It was at a high school marching band contest. My "offense" was not holding my hand on my chest when they played the national anthem before the contest. Seriously. I thought I had done enough simply by standing and staring in the direction of an idolatorous flag. But this guy rushed several eats over to me, slammed his fist on his chest and said something about supporting the troops.

Mick Davies
65 Posted 17/10/2019 at 17:20:12
Kieran, should have told him to eff off. My dad fought for this country, just so the Eton mafia could make money by selling everything the taxpayer built, to foreign corporations. I'm from Merseyside, not Murdochs England, and sport should have nothing to do with politics. I hate internationals - they destroy the football season just for the sake of filthy lucre
Kieran Kinsella
66 Posted 17/10/2019 at 17:39:44
Mick 65

I watch internationals but in private as they bring out the worst in crowds. I watched Ireland v Holland Euro 96 playoff in the Kop at Anfield. Afterwards the train ride back to Manchester was pleasant with Irish fans singing, the Dutch were very magnanimous in victory. Six months later, I was at Wembley and saw England beat Holland 4-1. The train ride back was awful. Skinheads taunting Ducth fans aggressively and relentless renditions of "No Surrender to the IRA." Not sure what that had to do with Holland v England. More perplexing was why the fans were so angry after the team had just won.

Mick Davies
67 Posted 17/10/2019 at 18:56:52
Kieran @ 66, England internationals have always attracted the knuckle-dragging S*n reader, which is another reason why I've never had any interest
Mike Doyle
68 Posted 17/10/2019 at 19:46:30
Kieran 53] Most people I know enjoyed Robbie Fowler’s celebration too - difficult not to. However earlier this year when he was taking part in an England veterans game v Germany I think (Harry Redknapp manager) he discussed that incident- and it seemed like, with hindsight, he regretted it.

... and let’s not forget the Robbie (like Carra, Macca, Owen et al) started life as a blue.

Mike Doyle
69 Posted 17/10/2019 at 19:52:33
... and Ian Rush too. How could I forget him??
Kieran Kinsella
70 Posted 17/10/2019 at 20:31:58

I think Macca is still a closet blue. You can hear it in his voice when he is commenting on Everton games.

Alan McGuffog
71 Posted 17/10/2019 at 21:01:36
The Fowler incident was priceless. He’d been getting loads, as usual, and could no longer give two fingers so did the snorting thing. Cue some soft eejits being “ outraged”.
Remember Gordon getting a pink handbag from the kopites in the sixties. He hammed it up and took it in good part ( I think).
Football was spontaneous and funny then. The sport of the working man. Those who control the game now want “ atmosphere” but in the case of BT and Sky they want people with jester hats and painted faces grimacing at pitch side cameras. That’s their idea of atmosphere...the off the cuff humour of the old days, admittedly usually very un pc, must not be allowed to rear its uncouth head any more.
Shame really.
Rob Marsh
72 Posted 17/10/2019 at 21:21:33
Ian Linn # 56

Some British Nationalism at the highest levels.

The very interesting thing about submarine participation in the Falklands war was the lack of them at the start of it.

British intelligence knew exactly what Argentina was planning before the invasion, American and Chilean intelligence were on our side. Forewarned and with a ringside seat we allowed them to invade.

It would have been ridiculously easy to have had a few submarines waiting in the 170 miles between Argentina and the Falklands, the war could have been stopped before it started and all at Argentina's expense. Or even the verbal threat of this would have stopped Argentina.

Maggie didn't do it though, but what she did do was what Cenk Tosun did, Salute the boys going and coming with the flag flying proudly up above.

I feel sure the benefits of having won a war while going into an upcoming election on a wave of nationalistic euphoria never entered her mind, not even for one second!

Jerome Shields
73 Posted 17/10/2019 at 22:22:25

Suppose you are right. But he still needs to make sure he doesn't go back further, if he is to haven any chance of recovering his team place.

Everton in the final third seems to be a strikers grave yard, under Silva.

Dave Evans
74 Posted 18/10/2019 at 07:12:28
All people identify with what they consider to be their tribe. Short of the discovery of human soul transplants, this won't change.

Not to hate or subjugate those who identify with another tribe is the best that can be done... Except of course the RS.

Tony Abrahams
75 Posted 18/10/2019 at 07:48:14
I agree with that David, but in that fantastic film “In the name of the father” about the Guildford four, innocent men were put in jail, and this came from the highest office in the land.

The master makes the rules, so let's hope Silva changes his own set-in-stone system, because goals win games, and his team are just not creating enough chances at the minute.

John G Davies
76 Posted 18/10/2019 at 09:44:55
Anyone interested in the sinking of the Belgrano should Google 'Hillary Murrell' and 'Commander Robert Green'.
Alan J Thompson
77 Posted 18/10/2019 at 10:30:04
Rob (#72); Too true. It wasn't as if Argentina hadn't tried this on before may be up to half-a-dozen times but each time Britain, quite publicly, ordered the fleet toward the Falklands. Thatcher wanted her war and did nothing which gave Argentina the idea that Britain would do nothing, a thought that was confirmed by Al Haigh, US Secretary of State, who was trying to negotiate a settlement before the conflict.
Alan McGuffog
78 Posted 18/10/2019 at 10:41:50
I see the Barca v Real game is postponed. Politics and footy, eh...
Peter Gorman
79 Posted 19/10/2019 at 02:31:44
Rob, Alan and other armchair historians - since you're so good at reading minds, any idea on the starting line-up against the Hammers?
Derek Thomas
81 Posted 19/10/2019 at 05:40:15
Alan @77; there were many discussions pre - Thatcher with the Callaghan Govt. These were not rebuffed out of hand. Reading between the lines, if Argentina had 'asked nicely' such was the state of the government purse...remember - Crisis? what Crisis. US$ - £, 1 to 1.

The UK was the sickman of Europe. This didn't immediately go away when Maggie changed the curtains in No,10. They'd probably of paid them to 'look after' the Falklands. But no, they took without asking, thus giving the still struggling new tory administration a rallying point, which maggie played to its jingo-istic hilt.

Geoff Trenner
82 Posted 19/10/2019 at 07:56:51
Mick @65. With all due respect, I don’t know where and when your Dad fought, but my Dad fought for democracy. He was a Pole and fought against both communism and fascism.
The Tories were repeatedly elected in free and fair elections (ok, we could debate whether FPTP is the right system). Democracy means that those elected get to implement their policies.
That’s what my Dad fought for in WWII and continued to throughout his life
Mick Davies
84 Posted 19/10/2019 at 13:29:38
Geoff 82, This is not the forum to discuss war and politics but seeing as you asked: you say your dad was a Pole fighting communism, when was this?

My dad was a para and jumped out of a plane over Holland to fight fascism, which is rearing its ugly head again, and when I see young Polish football fans sieg heiling after what the Nazi's done to Poland, I wonder if it was worth the waste of life.

And if you believe that elections in this country are 'free', you need educating. The UK elections are decided by a conglomerate of foreign billionaires, led by an Australian/American who has declared that he has been responsible for every PM since 1979.

Iakovos Iasonidis
85 Posted 19/10/2019 at 15:26:06
Ethnic cleansing from Turkey once again. They have long history in this practice (Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians... ). Nothing more, nothing less.

You can call it whatever you want but the plain truth is that the Turks found an opportunity and seized it. Baptized their actions war against terrorism and with no-one to oppose them (Europe's reaction just laughable) just started dropping bombs.

Wars I suppose are good for economy, you have to spend some bombs in order to buy some new ones...

Francis van Lierop
86 Posted 19/10/2019 at 16:52:51
Good initial post by Michael.

In an ideal world sports and politics shouldn't mix, but alas we know better.
For Tosun to salute Erdogan is very poor judgement.
He's bought the nationalistic propaganda.
Kurds are viewed as terroists there, most probably even the women and children...

We'll have to get used to it, the types of Erdogan, Putin & Trump, mad and power-hungry, aren;t going away soon.

Geoff Trenner
87 Posted 19/10/2019 at 19:11:48
Mick @84, this whole thread has been about politics.

You should be very proud of your Dad, as I am of mine. Their’s really was a very special generation.

My Dad was 13 when his a Father, a senior regional police officer, was taken from their village by the Russians and later executed, along with many military officers, at Katyn. He joined the Polish resistance and fought against both the Russians and Germans. The Russians raided his home one evening and took him, his Mother and siblings and shipped them to an agricultural work camp in Siberia. He escaped and travelled south to Persia, now Iran, where he lied about his age, he was 15, and joined the British army.

Thanks, but I certainly don’t need educating about free and fair elections. Of course I am aware of the influence of media magnates, but the fact that Mr Murdoch claims to have been responsible for every PM since 1979 does not make it so.

Alan McGuffog
88 Posted 19/10/2019 at 22:18:43
Geoff..your story is fascinating. My father in law was born in Lviv. His brother was taken by the Germans and never seen again. Bruno was taken by the Russians and imprisoned.
Some time after the Germans reneged on their agreement with Russia, many Poles were released and I gather, made their way across the Caspian Sea to Tehran.
Ultimately my father in law ended up fighting with General Anders at places like Monte Cassini, as did my own dad.
After all this horror he ended up living in the shadow of the kop. C'est la guerre. C'est la vie
Geoff Trenner
89 Posted 20/10/2019 at 07:53:29
Hi Alan, yes, on his journey Dad met up with a number of Poles released by Stalin and joined many of them on the ship to Persia. He told me how the Russian peasants, who helped him with food and clothing on his journey, had no idea that Russia was at war.

Dad was transferred to General Anders’ Polish 2nd Army after training in Palestine and fought at Monte Cassino. It was the Poles who eventually took the monastery after many brave but unsuccessful attempts by, amongst others, the New Zealanders.

At the end of the war he was in northern Italy and given the choice of a train ride to, by now, Russian controlled Poland or a ship to the UK. Believing all of his family to be dead he chose to come here.

in fact, all except his Father survived the war and eventually made their way back to Poland. In the hope that Dad had managed to get to Persia his Mother wrote many letters addressed to him c/o The British Army, London UK. The Army eventually tracked him down in 1957 and presented him with dozens of letters from his Mother.

Unfortunately he never saw her again but his Sister and her daughters visited, separately, in the 1970s and 1980s. By the time the wall fell and Dad decided that he would want to visit Poland he was too ill to do so.

He died in 2004, a proud Pole but equally proud of his British citizenship.

Mick Davies
90 Posted 21/10/2019 at 18:10:55
Geoff @ 87, I understand where you're coming from, as the Russians invaded Eastern Poland, but to call them communists is stretching it. Stalinism wiped out any socialism in Russia and his treaty with Hitler proves that he was just another fascist dictator.

And I'm sure you're aware of this quote from Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe: "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

Every Sun reader would tell you we're free, but what free country would have foodbanks and homelessness while the taxpayers fund tax-dodging billionaires?

Geoff Trenner
91 Posted 21/10/2019 at 19:07:13
Mick@90. Fascism and communism are different cheeks of the same arse. I condemn both absolutely. My Dad knew what he was fighting against whether he was pointing his gun at Nazis or the Red Army.

Defenders of communism often say that we haven't had ‘proper communism' anywhere in the world and therefore we can't say that communism hasn't worked. I call bullshit. Wherever it has been tried, it has failed.

Being a ‘free country' doesn't mean that everything is perfect. Freedom and rights comes with responsibilities, including the responsibility to look after and support yourself and your family, not relying on the state to support your laziness and fecklessness.

Lady Thatcher was spot on if you read ‘no such thing as society' in context of the whole speech.

Roman Sidey
92 Posted 22/10/2019 at 07:02:24
Kieran Kinsella, 70, there's nothing closet about it. Macca has stated a few times that he's still an Everton supporter.

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