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Saturday, December 2, 2023

International match between Germany and Türkiye: When nobody talks about football

After the German men’s 2-3 defeat against Turkey, Germany is once again playing the integration debate. This makes for strange alliances.

Footballer Ilkay Guendogan with opponent and ball.

The great German-Turkish role model for integration, Ilkay Gündoğan, did not hit the goal Photo: team photo/imago

The Turkish men’s national soccer team played against the German team at the weekend. Now the German public is once again playing the integration debate. As expected, sport hardly plays a role (“The tactics are secondary“It’s always the emotion first,” Julian Nagelsmann, German national coach) and the result is only because of that, because Germany lost (2:3) – against Turkey of all places, in Berlin of all places (“Kreuzberg is not Germany”, Friedrich Merz, CDU leader). In addition, many have the word friendship apparently completely overlooked in a friendly game (ten arrests, “physical confrontations”, fascist hand signals).

So the whistles of those who “sing for the wrong flag” (Thomas Müller, German striker) were certainly more annoying this time than 13 years ago, when Germany won 3-0 in the same Olympic Stadium and in front of a similar red and white backdrop won. Even back then, the displeasure of many excited German-Turkish Turkey fans was directed at a German-Turkish player (Mesut Özil, Integration Bambi winner and Turkish nationalist), who dared to wear the German jersey, even though he was born and raised in Germany and knew Turkey primarily as a holiday destination – and then scored a goal.

In return, he received a handshake from Angela Merkel in the dressing room after the game (“We can do it”) and was expelled from the media eight years later because he had met with Turkish President Erdoğan (“Assimilation is a crime against humanity.”) had his photo taken and Germany needed a scapegoat after their elimination in the preliminary round at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This time, the great German-Turkish role model for integration, İlkay Gündoğan (“a very special game for me”) did not hit the goal. Nevertheless, he can be happy about German support.

Not only from DFB vice-president Hans-Joachim Watzke (“absolutely not okay”), but also from the North Rhine-Westphalia state leader of the Junge Union (“crossed a line”), its parent party would like to view lists of names elsewhere, because German citizenship does not make you German. FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai was also particularly concerned about social cohesion Picture-Newspaper concerned about the catcalls (“It must hurt us all”).

At the right moment

For the Liberals, the hyped-up international match, whose wonderful goals no one talks about, came at exactly the right time: shortly after Budget ruling of the Federal Constitutional Courtwhose catastrophic consequences are also the responsibility of a liberal finance minister who believes that there is a good future for umme without a further escalating climate crisis (“The debt brake has one higher wisdom“).

Even well-meaning journalistic voices no longer help, claiming that the whistling concert is not meant to be bad because whistling at the opponent is an important part of Turkish fan culture (“Politician misinterprets whistles Turkish fans”) – just as if tens of thousands of fans in red and white had come from Turkey and not from German cities and German-German football fans were not whistling in the stadium, but yodelling.

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