Well, yesterday was certainly interesting, unique, funny (lots of laughs), and also one of those what-on-earth-am-I-doing-here type days…
8th March – International Women’s Day; or ‘8 Mart Kadınlar Günü,’ as they say here in Turkey. And I’ll be honest, when we lived in England, I had no idea what date Women’s Day was – and the whole ‘event’ wasn’t even on my radar. But things are different in Turkey.
Kadınlar Günü (Women’s Day) is an event. It’s commemorated, celebrated, acknowledged in different ways; and that goes for an average-sized town like Fethiye, too. Somehow, me and my friend ended up being a part of some of yesterday’s events in Fethiye…
This year, 2015 Kadınlar Günü fell on the same day as Fethiyespor were playing at home against Ümraniyespor and the club decided to make a day where women would be invited to the main stand of the stadium to watch the match free of charge.
I messaged my friend to ask her if she fancied coming to the match – we’d do posh for once and go in the main stand. Yeah, great, all sorted. And then she messaged me the following day:
“We’re meeting at Beşkaza Meyadanı first (the main square in Fethiye); there’s something going on there. No idea what the definite plans are but I think we’re going onto the pitch with the players.”
We’ve lived here long enough now to never wonder about ‘definite plans’ – so it was time to just follow along. Perfect weather for whatever we were about to do for Women’s Day yesterday, as you can see in the photo.
And, when we arrived at the square, it soon became apparent we’d been ‘adopted’ to join in Women’s Day commemorations that were organised by a couple of the Fethiye’s women’s associations.
Our particular ‘adopter’ was an older lady my friend knows – really sweet and funny…and feisty…and clearly, she wasn’t going to let us out of her sight all day.
Just as well really, because neither of us had a clue what was going on. She’s a member of the Fethiye Belediyesi Kadın Meclisi (Fethiye Municipality Women’s Council) – that’s their big wreath you can see at the Atatürk statue.
As other women arrived (the women above arrived in formation from the Republic Women’s Association) they introduced themselves – and we did the same in return. If our lady went off to speak to someone, she took us with her.
As Kadın Meclisi tags and pins were handed out, she got ours for us and passed them to us. Fethiyespor football shirts were handed out – she went to get one for us, “but we’re not putting them on yet,” she said, putting them in her bag.
Righteo! Who are we to question? Photographers arrived to take photos of the groups and were told where to stand…in the photos.
“But we’re not in the Fethiye Belediyesi Kadın Meclisi.” This was being said to my friend in smiling-gritted-teeth-ventriloquist fashion as we stood with the group in front of a team of photographers.
“I know. Keep smiling.”
“There’s gonna be people looking at these photos in a few years wondering who the heck those two English women are, photo-bombing the scenes.”
But it was all so interesting (and fun) to be a part of, too. As I said above, lots of laughing, and, for the part in the photo above, lots of singing, too. I had no idea what this song was, so I sneaked around here to take this photo.
Short speeches and İstiklal Marşı (the Turkish National Anthem) and then it was time to place flowers we’d been given at the statue of Atatürk. Atatürk was big on women’s rights – and, under his rule, Turkey was one of the first countries to give women the vote. We were more than happy to be given the opportunity to place our flowers there.
And so, time to go to the stadium to watch Fethiyespor. I’m used to just ambling along to the stadium on match day with Barry, getting our customary köfte ekmek and sitting/standing/clambering in Maraton stand (whatever everyone else is doing) and just minding my own business. Women’s Day at Fethiyespor was going to be a whole different event…
Our shirts were handed to us…and everyone put them on together…and then we think we were supposed to be doing a procession to the stadium, except this was one bit of organisation that went awry. Everyone was in good spirits, and we all just kind of set off, being chased by an equally good-spirited policeman on a motorbike who was shouting, “Stop, stop, I’m supposed to be escorting you.”
On arrival at the main stand, we were greeted with a little ‘Kadınlar Günü’ kurabiye from local bakery Baba Fırın Cafe and we all went to take our seats…in the VIP area no less!
A completely different view of the stadium from the one I’m used to from over the other side – so great to get match photos from a different angle for a change. And then, no sooner had we sat down, we were all told to get up again and go down to the pitch.
More photos, we had to walk onto the pitch with the players – and, all the time, me and my friend were laughing in a “what on earth are we doing here,” way. All very memorable in all the right ways, though, of course. And we’d got used to the photos by now – so we took some, too.
As we left the players, they removed their training tops to reveal t-shirts…
This is a bit of a theme for Fethiyespor now – and it’s very popular with supporters and with supporters of other teams, too. They’re becoming quite famous for it.
This particular one is a bit of a continuation from a previous one that said, “Yüce Atatürk,” (Supreme Atatürk) and says the woman is also supreme.
Of course that’s going to down well on Kadınlar Günü-International Women’s Day in front of a stand that, for this match day, is women-only. And it goes down even better when the players then throw carnations to all those women! Happiness galore, especially from the younger female fans of the teenage variety.
Oh yeah, and after all these goings on, there was of course a match to be played…
Fethiyespor’s opposition, Ümraniyespor, are current high flyers – so it was always going to be tough. The photo above is the celebration when we equalised to make it 1-1…and, to be honest, Fethiyespor were unlucky. They could have won. All good, though, and hopeful for the next match, and at least it wasn’t a loss on such a great day…
- Thanks to the ladies (one in particular) of Fethiye Belediyesi Kadın Meclisi for looking after us yesterday and for letting us be part of their day.
- Thanks to Baba Fırın for the Kadınlar Günü kurabiye. (I was very thoughtful and saved this till I got home to share with Barry.)
- And big thanks to Fethiyespor for the free entry to the match.