A Nations Image; Hospitality Vs Implacability

Baris GercekerCorrespondent IApril 1, 2009

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 28:  Turkish manager Fatih Terim before the start of the FIFA2010 World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Turkey at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 28, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Turkish national team failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup after they were knocked out by Switzerland. It became more than a football match, which often happens. When Turkey was 1-0 behind in the away game of the playoffs for the finals, Terim switched to an old fashioned 3-5-2 which caused a late second goal by the Swiss. If that had not happened the 4-2 win at home would have helped.

Instead, ugly things took place on the pitch, during and after that game. Terim propagated his usual arrogance and aggressiveness to his players on the pitch, during the game and right after the match ended. He was seen giving numbers to his players on the pitch, showing who to kick! When the match ended the Swiss players had to flee the pitch, in the dressing room corridor even more was to come. Mehmet Özdilek, who is known as one of the most decent players of his times (named "Scifo Mehmet" because of similarity of style with Belgium's Enzo Scifo), a true gentleman even tried to trip a Swiss player trying to run into the tunnel to save himself. He surely was fined, as well as Alpay Özalan, who was the part of the fighting in the corridors.

But Terim wasn't. Senes Erzik, a former Turkish Football Assocication chairman, who is now on a respectable position in UEFA fought to hard to avoid a ban for the national team for the upcoming tournaments. We survived with neutral venue fine and some games without fans. Even those disadvantages did not stop Turkish national team to qualify for Euro 2008 which they finished 3rd (or 4th since no 3rd place playoff was played).

Fatih Terim's career as a professional football player and a manager can become a topic of another huge article. The main thing is, his style is mainly aggressiveness. His players love him, even though he is a Galatasaray icon, the national team players who play their professional football in Galatasaray's fierce rivals, like Fenerbahçe or Beşiktaş, like him, admire him. Which is a little weird.

Just before the Spain game which was held on March 28th, 2009, the Turkish national team's official sponsor Nike put up a commercial. Its slogan is "be implacable". It deflects the meaning of the word "implacable" into something "softer" but still the image it gives, the images used in the commercial is rather repulsive. Roaring tigers, scorpions.

Just a little over 3 years have passed since that incident which almost put us out of international tournaments. Turkey and Turkish people are known for their hospitality. The slogan of Turkey in tourism is "Turkey welcomes you". But the truth on the shoulders of Fatih Terim is "implacable". His repulsive attitudes, excess of facial expressions, frowning eyebrows and aggressive gestures are the image of Turkish team for quite some time. Today, Turkey will host the second leg of the Spain match-up. I hope the team and his manager would digest a possible defeat, which would put them out of qualification for World Cup 2010. I really do feel and fear otherwise.