Fethiyespor Homecoming – Small(ish) Town, Big Impact

For the first time since we started this blog, I’m stuck for what to write. This is the third time I’ve started this post. Other attempts have been binned.

Three times I’ve decided not to write anything at all, but then where does that get us? Tomorrow will come and it’ll be the same situation again – I need to write something!

It’s not because we’ve got nothing to write about; we’ve just been on a circular trip around Turkey that’s given us enough material to keep us going for a good year or so.

There’s always something going on in our beloved Fethiye, too, that we can share with people; or there’s some fabulous Turkish dish we’ve just discovered that we get over-excited about and take too many photos of before enthusing about it here.

Fethiyespor Flag

The flag of Fethiyespor billowing in the breeze

Today, it’s a head thing on my part – trying to break down into neat segments those events that can never fit into neat segments but your brain insists on trying to do so anyway.

In the current bigger picture that is Turkish people making a stand and using their democratic right to protest against the government, Fethiye is one little piece of that picture. One little piece of that picture that also happens to have a football team, Fethiyespor, that has just won the playoff final to earn promotion to Lig 1.

And that’s where the neat segments are blown out of the water; because people are amazingly adaptable in situations like this.

So adaptable that yesterday, Fethiye’s Beşkaza Meydanı (that’s the new town square) played host to a peaceful demonstration – a demonstration to show solidarity with fellow protestors throughout the country – and this was then closely followed by the victorious homecoming of the football team.

Peaceful Protests Around Atatürk In Fethiye

Just before the minute’s silence at the Atatürk statue

Around 2,000 people are at the Fethiye demonstration; families, small children, groups of teenagers and youth groups, older people, a guy selling helium balloons, anyone want a Fethiyespor flag or scarf for later?

It’s all very organised: chants and clapping and cheering followed by a walk across the square to the statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. A moment’s silence and then the singing of İstiklal Marşı (the Turkish National Anthem) and then back to stand outside the culture centre for more chants.

Eventually, a voice comes through the speakers to thank the groups of protestors and send them on their way on another organised march along the kordon (Fethiye harbour). Off they go – a long column of them.

Somehow, in the meantime, and amongst the crowds, a stage has been constructed! We’ve got no idea how all this has happened in the middle of lots of people but by the time the crowds have dispersed, they’re already testing the stage lighting. This must be for Fethiyespor. We decide to stick around for a bit to see what happens.

Fethiyespor Supporters

Fethiyespor supporters await the team’s arrival

There’s a red(ish) carpet, as you can see in the photo. Placards make way for silky, dark blue and white flags – and the guy on the microphone tells the anticipated crowd to wait along the carpet.

The bus and the convoy have just set off from nearby Karaçulha and will be here soon. Everyone waits…and waits. “15 minutes,” says the guy on the microphone. A few grumbles…but everyone waits.

Music blasts through the speakers and 30 minutes or so later, stops.

“We’re waiting for Fethiyespor,” says the voice, again. Yes, we are. No time check this time. As a former avid supporter of a ridiculously successful rugby league team, I’m completely aware of how slow a bus full of happy players can go as they milk the crowds…and why wouldn’t they?

But it’s looking ominous – the people here have got a long wait!

90 minutes later, we’re still there. “Evet, bekliyoruz,” (yes, we’re waiting), comes the voice again, before the music once again kicks in.

“Yes, and Fethiyespor are going to miss their first game of the new season, if it takes them any longer to get here,” mumbles Barry. We’ve got aching feet and legs after being here all day so we give it another 30 minutes.

No sign of anything happening, we decide it’s time to go for a bit of refreshment at Cafe Park Teras.

Fethiyespor Arrival

The team finally arrive – on a Marmaris bus

And this is where we apologise for the terrible photo. We’ve been in Cafe Park Teras for about an hour before we eventually hear the telltale beeping of horns…lots of them.

We know it must be the convoy so we lean over the barriers to cheer along with everyone else. No camera.

Barry makes a mad dash back to our table to get it and by the time I’ve switched it on, there’s no time to play with any settings. We worry how many/few people must be left at the square, waiting for them.

But we didn’t need to wonder. Photos the following day revealed a packed square.

A funny old day. Like us, many of the people were at Beşkaza for most of the evening. Peaceful protest and celebration too, all set against the current backdrop where many people are having a much, much more difficult time than we were.

And that’s what people are good at. And that’s what Fethiye’s obviously good at because it all worked. Yesterday, Fethiye did something good…and of course, Fethiyespor did something really good.

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Comments

  1. Antonetta Coban says

    Thank you for the kind words….Recent events make me happy and sad at the same time…the violence is never good, but is is a great thing for people to protest more or less freely…

  2. @ Antonetta Coban: And thank you for the kind comment. Yes, it’s a mixture of feelings isn’t it?

  3. I do love seeing this new blogpost, and a big well done to Fethiyespor, what a remarkable achievement. I have mixed feelings too – so proud of all the folks out there expressing their right, yet very sad about the violence. But we must keep going, keep writing, you inspired me to get my act together for my next blogpost, an over due new recipe!

  4. @ Ozlem’s Turkish Table: In that case, we’re looking forward to your next blog post. 🙂 Amazing achievement for Fethiyespor. Will have to start learning some of the players’ names, now. 🙂

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