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Turkish expatriates in Europe do their best to make their team feel at home at Euro 2008

Turkish expatriates in Europe do their best to make their team feel at home at Euro 2008

Turkish expatriates from across Europe flooded into Geneva on Saturday to support their team in its opening match of the European Championship against Portugal.
Red and white team shirts and national flags bearing the white crescent and star were everywhere, with the colors and emotions brought by the crowds giving the city a party atmosphere that had been lacking in the buildup to the Group A game.
"It's great to see Turks from various parts of Europe," said 21-year-old Merve Kocyigit, who rode a train from Vienna overnight. "I saw cars with plates from Germany, France and Istanbul. It feels so beautiful to be here with other Turks."
Kocyigit, who was born and raised in Austria, said Saturday's game was the first one she had ever attended and that it was a precious opportunity to feel at home while so far away from it.
There are close to three million Turks in Germany and many others live scattered across Europe, mostly in the Netherlands and France. There is also a small Turkish community in Switzerland.
The expatriate community have not let the players feel too far away from home since they started training in Germany last month and then during the final phase of their preparations here in Switzerland.
All three friendly games the team played in Germany were played in fully attended stadiums with thousands of Turkish expatriates in the stands. Likewise, lines of fans could be seen outside the field where the team was training in Nyon.
"I drove for five hours to come here from Stuttgart. I came to show my support for the team and for my country," said Feridun Senturk, wearing a hat with red and white stripes, a red jacket and red shoes, standing in the center of the main fan zone in Geneva.
"When away from home, we miss the unity we feel here now," said Senturk's brother-in-law standing next to him.
Small groups of Turkish fans were strolling the streets, fully covered with red and white, the colors of the Turkish national flag.
Another man from Germany had parked his red van just outside one of the main squares in the city.
Tuncel Genc said he had bought the 37-year-old vehicle on an online shopping Web site minutes after Turkey qualified for the tournament by beating Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 last November.
He decorated the inside of it just like a traditional home from Turkish countryside and put flags everywhere.
"I was going to do this in the World Cup two years ago if Turkey could join. But it did not happen," said Genc regretfully. "But we joined the European Championship. And I am here now with my friends."


Updated : 2021-06-14 21:09 GMT+08:00