Match-fixing claims take away the taste of the league

Match-fixing claims take away the taste of the league

Match-fixing claims are here to stay. As a matter of fact, if Fenerbahçe President Aziz Yıldırım were not involved in the incident, it would not have set tongues wagging so much because match fixing in football has been a familiar subject for a long time. It was just not possible to draw attention to it. Can you imagine? We have a system that normalizes granting “bonuses” to the opposing team’s players. This was not a crime according to our laws.

Well, what is this bonus or “incentive payment?” Is it not another word for bribery? Is it not a type of match fixing?

We grew up amid this bribery-match-fixing-bonus triangle. We all heard it but we never knew anything concrete. When the laws changed, it was time for us to face the facts.

The general stance of the public, except for Aziz Yıldırım, is that they believe, “They must have done some things.” For Aziz Yıldırım though, there is a separation: One segment says: “He was framed. There is a conspiracy behind it.” The non-prejudiced other side says, “You cannot think of a prosecutor who would accuse and detain the president of Fenerbahçe without concrete evidence.”

Meanwhile, it is obvious that there is no taste left in the Super League. There is no comparison with the excitement of the leagues of past years and this year’s poor atmosphere. We are going through a spiritless league where the competitive element is at its lowest and where the excitement has been minimized.

Football is a part of our lives. It colors our weekends, it adds thrill to them. We are about to lose this.
[HH] Not many ask for Turkey’s leadership

I was in the southeastern province of Gaziantep after being invited to the “Abant Meetings” by Zirve University. The topic was developments in the Middle East and, indeed, expectations from Turkey.
My reason for being there was to learn new things, as important figures from Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia were invited. There were very interesting observers among the Arab speakers, from those who have observed the incidents at Tahrir Square, to those who approach the subject from an academic perspective. Likewise, experts from the United Kingdom, the United States and other Western countries also participated. There were also writers like me and interested academics searching for new angles. It was not Turks talking Turks among Turks.

I want to share two of my observations:

- There is no consensus on how much of this is a “spring” and how much of it is a “autumn,” or whether the developments should be called “reforms,” an “uprising” or a “rebellion,” or even where the incidents are heading. Nobody has a healthy view. Minds are confused. Each speech starts with “Unless we want to fortune tell over coffee,” but ends with, “We will wait and see.”

- The only point that is known and that everybody agrees is there is no turning back from this direction and all the countries in this region will sooner or later democratize.

When the topic was Turkey, we saw how empty the discourse within the Turkish media is, as they say: “We will be the leader of the region. They all take Turkey as a model. We have ignited the fire of democracy. The Arabs are admiring us because of our economic successes and television series.”

Arab experts neither accept Turkey’s leadership nor its role as a model. Rather than asking for a big brother or exported models, they are asking for a sharing of experiences. There were some of us who already knew this but others needed to hear it one on one.