As Turkey and Germany prepare to vie for a spot in the Euro 2008 finals, the NYT takes a look at the off-the-pitch elements unique to this match-up. Namely, the substantial of-Turkish-descent population in Germany has made for some mixed loyalties. It’s also heartening to read comments like this:
“I think it will go great, whichever team wins,” said Murat Yalcin, 33, who works at a cafe in Neukölln back in Berlin. He was wearing a Turkey T-shirt, but said that if Germany wins, he would root for it in the final. “When you live here, when you were raised here, why root for anyone else?”
The Turks, with their deeply held secular convictions, stand as a an all too-rare (or perhaps all-too-underreported) rebuke to the notion that Muslim immigrants can’t or won’t assimilate into European society. It’s things like this, among other political subplots, that make this a match likely to resonate for some time.
(HT: The Shockey Brigade)