Turkish PM Erdoğan says Netherlands World Cup favorite
AA PhotoKnown as a football aficionado, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his tip for this year’s World Cup is the Netherlands.
Speaking in an interview with the French magazine Paris Match, Erdoğan said he was trying to follow the matches as far as he could, despite his heavy agenda and the ongoing crisis in Iraq, in which dozens of Turkish citizens have been seized by jihadist militants.
“Unfortunately, Turkey was eliminated at the last minute. But we were in the same group as the Netherlands and I can see that they are going to be very successful,” he added.
The Dutch beat the Turkish national team in Istanbul in the decisive final match of the qualifying stage, shattering Turkey’s hopes of reaching the play-off stage.
Speaking of France’s prospects, Erdoğan also said he regretted that players such as Frank Ribery and Samir Nasri were not able to compete due to injuries.
As a younger man, Erdoğan played semi-professional football at a local club in Istanbul’s tough Kasımpaşa neighborhood, where he grew up. Today, the stadium of Süper Lig club Kasımpaşa S.K. is named after him.