|Mark'sism Today: "Cold Turkey"|
Thu 07th Oct 2010 06:36 by Marko
I know from my anti-Ronaldo/Portugal rant during the World Cup I should be careful in condemning an entire nation, nor do I wish to sound like one of those moronic EDL cretins who plan to cause mayhem in Leicester on Saturday.....
...however I have a serious issue with Turkey and Turks. It all stems back to tragic events 10 years ago, when Kevin Speight and Chris Lofthouse were brutally murdered on the eve of the UEFA Cup semi-final. April 5th 2000 is imprinted on the memory of every Leeds fan who was living at that time.
Although our own much-maligned judicial system is not perfect, surely it is far better than its Turkish equivalent? Five men have been convicted for the killings, including the vile rat-faced Ali Umit Demir (pictured smirking above). However they have been freed on appeal. I understand there is an appeal pending on the grounds of provocation.
With every story like this, there are usually apologists or Criminologists keen to offer some bizarre explaination bollocks. There were allegations that Leeds fans in Taksim Square that night were drunk (shock! horror!) and it kicked-off when some proceeded to pretend to wipe their arses on a Turkish flag, apparently a taboo and an insult to the Turkish culture - which seems to include it being acceptable to carry knives. Experts whine that we should respect this and get on with it. I cannot condone refusal to obey customs. If I walked into a Mosque with my shoes on, Id expect some form of reprimand and rightfully so but I would not expect to lose my life over it.
Speaking to the Guardian on the tenth anniversary of his brother's murder, Phil Loftus said "We feel in limbo. Stuck without answers and justice."
A couple of months later, our fresh-faced, newly-elected Prime Minister David Cameron was reportedly "angry" at the slow pace of negotiations with the EU regarding Turkey's possible membership. France to their credit, are the main objectors, citing their alledged appalling treatment of Kurds and growing public support for pro-Islamic organisations as reasons why they should not join (BBC News, 27.07.10).
Cameron and his Tory Toff mates are keen to do business with Turkey. In the current fragile financial climate, Turkey is seen by experts as one of the world's fastest growing economies. Cameron also made reference to Turkey's support for NATO and offering potential stability to the troubled Middle East.
Granted, Turkey may have its good points but is it too much to ask the leader of our nation to at least acknowledge the murder of two of our own 10 years ago and Turkey's chronic failure to provide any justice or closure for the long-suffering families of Chris and Kevin?
Cameron obviously has not been up to Leeds that much or realised what a sensitive issue this still is in our part of West Yorkshire and to Leeds fans in general.
In the gory aftermath of the killings, where Galatasary fans taunted us with slit throat gestures, where their papers openly glorified the death of two Englishmen, where as a nation they seem apathetic to the murders, where their lousy justice system is a let-down, a Leeds-supporting friend of mine said "Lets remember all this when they bring out the collection tins for the next earthquake." In August 1999, 1000 people died in a Turkish earthquake.
Normally Id consider a boycott of all things relating to one nation as borderline xenophobia. I would not take my family on holiday there, not because I fear for their safety but why should I put anything into their economy when they do not care what happened to our two lads? I refuse to buy any of their products, Efe's beer for example! (the only mainstream thing I can think of, I always check the labels though). A Turkish fast-food place has opened in our town recently, I will not eat there on principle.
Accusations of being a little Englander I can live with, it is far easier than to live with the death of two innocent men on your nations conscience.
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