EURO2008 City Scenes: Turkey, It’s Party Time! Behold the ‘Russian Revolution’!

25 06 2008

Photos: Party Scenes of Turkey supporters in Ottakring district, Vienna, on June 20 – 21, 2008. Pictures kindly provided by Dominik Gubi.

A breathtaking game, possibly the highlight seen so far in the European Football Championship this year, was the match Croatia vs. Turkey on June 20, at the Ernst-Happel-Stadium in Vienna. A game that challenged the 4,000 police oficers in the Austrian capital, because both countries have a considerable minority, besides about 200,000 fans stormed the ciry that day. Melting point of both, indeed was Vienna’s 16th district Ottaking, and some riots broke out after the game, procoked by Croatian supporters, who seemed certain to have won the semi-finale qualification with their goal in the 119th minute. But the rapid response from the Turkish team – we should remember Turkey vs. Czech Republic a few days earlier – brought the equalizer, and the following shoot-out, in which the Turkish team had stronger nerves.

As a few days later in the game between Russia vs. Netherlands, again the stronger team and favourites to win, were eliminated: the Netherlands on June 21 in Basel, Switzerland. I am dissapointed about the departure of the Netherlands, but I am excited about Russia’s success, as this is the first serious showing of the Russian national team in an international competition since fall of Communism.

I remember well, when Turkey, yet again on June 20, turned a game around in seconds, and even the streets near my home went absolutely crazy until 2.00 and 3.00 am. The music went up loudly after the Turkish triumph, and the car horns kept sounding for hours. No sleep for those of us, who were not directly involved.

But a few days ahead of the game, I wandered about in Favoriten, my home district, to collect a few impressions of the games, and the upcoming friendly rivalry between Croatia and Turkey. Just off the underground station U1 Keplerplatz on the pedestrianized Favoritenstrasse, I passed the local ‘institution’, Danas Imbiss (or also known as Danas Hütte), a local Würstelstand (a Viennese version of a Hot Dog stand). The proud owner, a middle-aged Polish lady with long blond hair who runs this facility already for decades, did not hide her Austrian, as well as Polish patriotism with her strong accent. However, in front of a journalist, she would not want to comment, and my enquiry was viewed with suspicious eyes by the clientel consuming beer and hefty Viennese sausages.

Elderly, far-right Austrians are among her core customers, and for those, she has provided a small LCD screen to watch the EURO games. Until Poland’s departure, however, she wore an apron with the Polish eagle on a white background. Under the two large, green parasols with tables and chairs, however, were the Austrian flags affixed.

The games Austria vs. Germany, and Croatia vs. Poland, brought the elimination of both of her ‘heroes’, and she and the somewhat 10 customers watching those games on TV that evening were not without dissapointment. But life went on the next day, and Dana was back with her traditional white apron, no Polish insignia. also the traditional customers were back, following some of the games while having a beer or two, with apathy nevertheless.

A few stepes away, and accousticly in reach of Danas Imbiss is the Cafe Mokkado, which has a huge screen in their stylish Schanigarten. The Cafe is packed each time a game is show, and I keep wondering why Dana’s customers do not spend the evening watching the games there; instead, they choose to sit on uncomfortable folding chairs glued to a small 17″ screen. No one really wanted to comment openly, but overhearing some of the conversations, it is a tradition to spend the vening here and Dana provided some special treats during the Championship season with their beer, which they would not have anywhere else.

Meanwhile the Cafe Mokkado was fully occupied, not only by Austrian fans, but also some Croatian and Polish, and everyone seemed to get along well. The mood was good, until – the match Austria vs. Germany – the evidenty stronger German team scored a goal. The faces of the Austrian supporters turned sour and the hopes of reaching the quarterfinals and eliminating Germany diminished.

In this part of Favoriten, I notice more Croatian and Turkish flags affixed on the cars than Austrian ones. Also in the windows of houses and flats, the small flags of these nationalities were more noticable than the local ones. Earlier this afternoon, as I approached Reumannplatz with its famous Tichy Ice Cream Cafe and Amalienbad opposite, teenage boys are playing with a minature football between the tram tracks and people rushing about with their shopping while young women, dressed in yellow tops and short, black trousers handing out leaflets for a a large online betting company.

However, as I turn off to Gellertplatz, just off Reumannplatz, I find to my amazement a huge Portuguese flag at one of the upper windows of a backyard Gemeindebau. This district, which is no major attraction for foreign visitors, has its surprises, I realized, as I did not expect to find a Portugal flag here.

Overall, there is moderate enthusiasm for the European Championships here, and more complaints about increase in food and beverage prices are discussed than football results. Nevertheless, whatever the outcome of tonight’s semi-finale between Germany and Turkey, the somewhat 7,000 Turkish inhabitants here will have cause to celebrate, as this nation had one of the greatest football successes in its history.

This is an excerpt, the full article will be published in July 2008 in The Vienna Review.




One response

25 06 2008
EURO2008 City Scenes: Turkey, It’s Party Time! Behold the ‘Russian Revolution’!

[…] Management Classes – IT wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt … nd people rushing about with their shopping while young women, dressed in yellow tops and short, black trousers handing out leaflets for a a large online betting c ompany…. […]

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