Erdoğan’s 16 warriors become mascots for Ottomansport FC
AA photoThe Turkish capital’s municipality-administrated football club - modestly called Ankaraspor FC until it was renamed “Osmanlıspor FC” (Ottomansport FC) last summer - may not be the most successful football team in the country, but at least now it will now be well-armed to conquer its rivals.
As Ottomansport FC faced Altınordu in the 19th week of the PTT League One competition on Feb. 8, a group of its supporters showed their loyalty by turning up to the match at the club’s “Ottoman Stadium” in Ankara wearing the military costumes of the 16 states founded throughout history by Turks, Doğan News Agency reported.
The move came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hit international headlines for welcoming Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Turkey’s new presidential palace with a costumed retinue of the 16 warriors in January.
The cadre of soldiers had a limited effect on the pitch, however, as their team could only grab a 1-1 draw.
The Ottoman Stadium was also decorated with the flags of former Turkish states, as well as banners commemorating Ottoman military units like the Janissaries and the “Akıncılar” (Raiders).
“O championship, whether you take me or I take you - The Unending Ottoman,” one banner read, referring to the famous words of Mehmed II, who is said to have uttered a version of this phrase at the gates of Constantinople on the eve of the city’s conquest in 1453.
The Ottomansport FC project was first conceived of years ago by Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and his son Osman Gökçek, who is now the chairman of the club. The 16 warriors theme, on the other hand, marks a new twist on the club’s attempted historical resonance.