I have mentioned many times about love of Bosnians for Turkey in that blog, especially in the articles just before Turkey-Croatia match in EURO 2008. Do not be confused with the fact that Bosnian king Tvrtko had fought against Otoman Army in Kosovo War in 1389 together with Serbian king Lazar. Kepin mind that, Anatolian princedoms also did not hesitate to fight against Ottomans who tried to establish hegemony over Turkomans. So to say, it does not mean that Tvrtko was a real enemy against Turks. Maybe he just did not want his people to be under control of Ottomans.
There had been relations between Turks and Bosnians in pre-Ottoman Era as well. The Bektashi Fathers were the first to visit the region before the warriors and it is very well known how local Bosnians were hospitable for those heartfelt visitors. It is even argued that, that relationship between Bektashis and Bosnians made it to easier to occupy this are by the Ottomans. This sincere relationship between Ottomans and Bosnians were such deep that Habsburg monarchs, who occupied and annexed Bosnia to Austria-Hungary in 1878 had to accept that Bosnians would be directly connected to Sheihk-ul Islam (religious head) who was residing in Istanbul. Bosnians identify their religions as “Turkish type Islam”, and even not very fond of those neo-Turks in Bosnia: “Those neo-Turks do try to cnvert us to Arabic type of Islam.”
In that “football culture”blog, I will not bother the reader with the friendship of Bosnians and Turks. I just wanted to open a paranthesis before introducing in the subject of recent football matches between Bosnia and Turkey. Friendship between Turkey and Bosnia has great historical and cultural background. While Bosnian Serbs have got close ties with Serbia, and Bosnian Croats with Croatia, this situation makes Bosnian Muslims (aka Bosniaks) closer to Turkey: “If you have your Beograd and Zagreb, we have our Istanbul!” The national football matches between Turkey-Bosnia, or football matches between Turkish and Bosnian football matches in UEFA cups are played within this atmosphere. It is very common to see Turkish flags in the stadiums of Bosnia.
On the other side, it is somehow strange that the first friendly match between Turkey and Bosnia was played in August 16, 2000. Turkey could only by then think of playing with her sister eight years after the independence. The result of the first friendly game between Turkey and Bosnia played in Koşevo Stadium was 2-0 for Bosnia.
The destiny made two teams to play couple of times in the international tournaments. The first match between Turkey and Bosnia in the qualifying group was played in June 2, 2007. Although Turkey had scored the first goal, Bosnians were the victorous side at the end: 3-2. The revenge of that match was played by November 21, 2007 in Istanbul. Instead of identifying it as “played” we would better to say “acted like to be played”.Bosnia, who did not have any chance in the group did not make the thing more difficult for Turkey and the result was areasonable 1-0 defeat for Bosnia. The headlines of Hungarian newspapers were meaningful: “Eternal Brotherhood”. The threepoints of Turkey gathered from that match made it possible for Turkey to go to Austria and Switzerland instead of Hungary.
I had written about possible attitude of Bosnians about Turkey-Croatia match in that blog before: Zagreb ce biti turska mahala.
Hence, I had also mentioned how they celebrated Turkish victory: Turmoil in Bosnia After Turkey-Croatia Match.
For South Africa 2010, Turkey and Bosnia were seeded in the same group again. I had mentioned that Bosnia would not bean easy team to pass: Bosnian Surprise for Turkey.
The first match would be in Istanbul, at October 11, 2008, in İnönü Stadium with the new trainer of Bosnia and Hercegovina. Ciro had asked Bosnia fans to not to wear Turkey jerseys during the match. It is well known that Bosnians have great sympathy to Turkish football, not only on national level, but on local level as well. Not only those jerseys or accessories of great teams of Istanbul, but even Turkish teams which do not play in Super League can be seen on Bosnian football fans. Just before that match, Ciro had asked Bosnian fans: “I know you enjoy Turkish flags, but at least in that match come only with Bosnian flags!”. When I have wrote about this in my blog, our “football fans” began to produce conspiracy theories about “anti-Turkish character of Ciro”. Bosnians did not do any surprise for Turkey. Athough they had scored the first goal, the rule that “who scores Turkey the first goal will be defeated” was valid in that match as well, and the final score was 2-1. And among 1600 fans of Bosnia, it was possible to see Bosnians with Turkish flags, scarves or other accessories.
Bosnians never hesitate to be kind to Turks in such circumstances. But, it is visible that Turks do not reply that kindness very often. On the contrary, when Bosnians lit torches, they are groaned down by Turkish fans. When Bosnians prefer to sing their original national march “Jedna si jedina”, during their artificial national match is played in the stadum, or when they replace the artifical flag with the original Bosnian flag with the “ljiljans”, Turkish fans start jeers again. It ispartly because of disinformation about Bosnian history and reality, and partly because of other sentiments.
In fact Bosnian did not make a surprise in Zenica in September 9, 2009. One could see numerous Turkish flags in there as well and the result of the match was a draw:1-1. But, it was Bosnia at the end who had obtained the right to attend in play off matches. “Emperor Terim the Arrogant”s desires were avoided by Belgium in fact, but how could our brothers Bosnians could do that to us? They had to know their place and since they did not they have right to be target of Turkish football fans and media.
A kind of analogy is very common to be made considering the relationship between Turks and Bosnians: “Turkey and Bosnia are brothers. Turkey is the elder one, Bosnia is the younger,and it is obvious that from time to time the younger brother would wish to beat the elder brother in games.” Aparently, Turks consider Bosnians as somebody from “home”. However, it might be because of the deformed vision of pax-Ottomanism which examine some nationalities as subjects of the Empire, more than being the “younger brother” some Turks likely are more likely to see Bosnians as “step-brother” who knows who is the real boss.
I do not want Turkey to seed in the same group with Bosnia ever again. It is not because of my fear from Bosnia, which is getting better results like her ex-Yugoslav sisters as inheritors of the magnificient Yugo ecolé. I am from the generation who witnessed defeats of disastrous scores of 8-0s. I can deal with defeats, but not with some other things. Before Bosnia played with Armenia and Estonia, there were rumors in Bosnia that considerable amount of money passed to Riga and Erivan from Turkey. I remember an oldie was complaining that the real situation made him to be fan of Armenia. For those who live in my beautiful country Turkey, maybe not in other spheres, but surely at the top-5 in corruption world wide, rumors about “incentive bonus” offered to Armenia or Estonia would not be surprising to hear. That is what I cannot deal with as well.
For those reasons, I really do not want Turkey to seed again with Bosnia in the same group…
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