Syriacs in Turkey found football team after 23 years away
MİDYAT - Doğan News Agency
Syriac Christians living in the southeastern Turkish province of Mardin’s Midyat district have founded a football club after a 23-year break.
The team, named Turabdinspor, played its first match in a lower league on Oct. 1, beating Kızıltepe Sport Lyceum 4-0.
“Today we played our first match, dedicated to brotherhood. We are together with our Kurdish, Arab and Syrian friends. We did not have a football team for 15 or 20 years,” said Turabdinspor Chairman Mesut Aslan.
The previous Syriac football club, called Telkarispor Football Club, was founded in 1984 but closed down 10 years later amid a wave of migration of Syriacs from Turkey to Europe in 1994.
“We came to watch football today. I remembered the old days from 50 or 60 years ago, when there were similar football matches in Midyat,” said Gebro Seven, who came from Germany with his wife to watch the game.
“Conversation and dialogue are always good,” said his wife, Yıldız Seven.
Another supporter, Syrian filigree silversmith Murat Aslan, also praised fair play and brotherhood.
“It does not matter for us if someone is Muslim, Syriac or Yazidi. We are all brothers. Together we are a team,” said Aslan.
Before the match, Midyat Turabdinspor Manager Yılmaz Demir and Lokman Zankırtlı from the Kızıltepe Sports Lyceum flew white pigeons in the name of brotherhood and peace. The players from Turabdinspor also gave roses to the referees as well as players of the opposing team.