Changing Identity: Istanbul Clubs during Gezi Protests

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: 412
Oral Presentation
Ozan GÜNEL , Communication, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş are the biggest sport clubs in Turkey.   Even they are sport clubs their main focus located in football and football has an obsession level love and hate relation within Turkish public.  But even %90 percent of Turkey’s population see themselves as fan of these 3 big clubs which are also the oldest clubs, these İstanbul clubs have zero class affiliation throughout history.  Very crudely Galatasaray represent aristocracy, Fenerbahçe bourgeoisie and Beşiktaş worker class but like we said these assumptions are very crude and can not apply to fans and general public.

At June 2013 Turkey was the headline of all press worldwide.  A small peaceful demonstration started with environment concerns turned into a nationwide protest and rebellion against ruling party AKP (Justice and Development Party) and especially its leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  While police brutality against peaceful demonstrations triggered the situation it must be realized that there is a building frustration in non-conservative society for the last couple of years.  At Gezi Park protest we can see mostly all political, ideological views developed in Turkey.  From communists to nationalist, from Muslims to Atheists, from LGBT to football fans of these 3 biggest clubs.  Of course politization of these fan groups can be described as political awakening of youth after 1980 military coup and turning it into a struggle within their passionate interest.

This paper aims to understand these fans, their change and their demands from authority.