28 November 2015
Turkish fans twice in two months disrupted moments of silence for victims of Islamic State attacks in Ankara and Paris in a demonstration of the kind of intolerance bred by religiously-cloaked authoritarianism in countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
The fans demonstrative empathy with the Islamic State by shouting Allahu Akbar, God is Great, during moments of silence at the beginning of two soccer matches represented more than simple identification with the jihadist group or evidence of a substantial support base in Turkey. It signalled a shift in attitudes among some segments of Turkish society as a result of 12 years of rule by one of modern Turkey’s most important leaders that increasingly has been infused with notions of ‘us’ and ‘them.’
In Turkey, them is often Kurds, who account for up to 20 percent of the population. Kurds were prominent among the victims in Ankara in October and an earlier IS attack in July in south-eastern Turkish town of Suruc. The Suruc attack sparked renewed hostilities between the Turkish military and the insurgent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Wuerzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, a syndicated columnist, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 01/12/2015