Netherlands vs Turkey: When your “home” teams face off

Photo: Depositphotos

Muhammed Guren, 20, was born in the Netherlands, although his family hails from Izmir, Turkey, where he lived for several years as a child. The Amsterdam-based personal trainer has both Dutch and Turkish citizenship.

But come Saturday’s quarter-final match between Turkey and the Netherlands in the UEFA Euro cup, Guren says he’ll be rooting for his “home team – Turkey.”

“That’s my ethnicity, and I feel warmer to that part,” he says. “I feel more Turkish than Dutch. I don’t consider myself Dutch, but I am a Dutch citizen, so I can be Dutch when I need to be. But my entire family is Turkish.”

If Turkey wasn’t playing the Netherlands, he says, he’d root for the Dutch. “But because they are, I’m rooting for Turkey. But it’s hard when they face each other.”


This Saturday, the Netherlands will face Turkey for the first time ever in the UEFA European Football Championship’s quarter-final round. And for many in the country’s large Turkish community, it’s a match between two “home” teams.

“I can’t lose, because I’m from both sides,” says 60-year-old tobacco shop owner Tuncay, who came to the Netherlands from Gaziantep, Turkey when he was seven years old and has dual citizenship. He says he has no conflicting loyalties, and he’ll decide during the game who to root for, normally choosing the side that plays best.

“If Turkey wins, I will be there with a flag in the western part of Amsterdam, but if the Netherlands wins, I will be celebrating also.”

John, 24, agrees. His family is from Yozgat, Turkey, although he was born in the Netherlands. He says in Turkey, people don’t consider him Turkish, while in the Netherlands, people don’t consider him Dutch. But he considers himself both.

“I’m in a win-win situation,” he says. “If Turkey wins, I’ll be toeteren. And if the Dutch win, I’ll be sipping wine.”

By toeteren, he means honking his car’s horn, which is favourite celebratory practice in the Turkish community.

“If Turkey wins, you’ll hear tons of tooting!” agrees Guren, especially in Amsterdam’s Nieuw-West. “It means happiness for Turks. It will be fun.”

After Turkey’s 2-1 victory over Austria earlier this week, many fans took to the streets, honking their horns and waving flags, with Amsterdam’s Plein 40-45 in the Nieuw-West so busy that the square became inaccessible by car.

One Amsterdam city council member called for screens to be set up there so that Dutch and Turkish fans could watch Saturday’s match together. But it seems that only one location in the city applied for the necessary permit before the April 26 deadline, which means the only large outdoor screening of the game will be broadcast on the Klönneplein in the Westerpark, organized by the Westergasterras restaurant.

The available 2,000 spots were reserved within six minutes of being opened to the public on Thursday.


Amsterdam police won’t comment on any security measures they’re taking, telling Dutch News only that they will monitor safety as always. “We always take both visible and invisible measures…. In cases like this, we normally work information-driven, which means that the measures depend on the information gathered on the days before the match,” said a spokesperson.

Guren, though, says he expects some trouble. “If the Dutch win, Turks will be upset. They’re so nationalistic they won’t take it easy. Where if Turkey wins, the most chaos happens. The Dutch will probably be okay with a Turkish win, except for some nationalists maybe. But they won’t be as mad as if France won.”

Murat Gedik, chairman of the Turkish Federation of the Netherlands (TFN), says he hopes things remain calm if Turkey wins. “Personally, I don’t mind Turks honking in cars through the streets, but I understand if people will soon be delirious with joy,” he said.

He’s asked Turkish supporters to celebrate “enthusiastically but modestly,” and called on Turkish Dutch people to “behave with dignity” if they lose.

All Orange fans welcome

Guren will be watching the match from his phone at work.

But some in the Turkish community will head to one of the 25 viewing places throughout the country organised by the TFN, including the Mescid-i Aksa Mosque in Amsterdam’s Nieuw-West.

“Football is very important for Turks and Dutch people,” says Gedik. “Because we want to build bridges to others, we invite everyone to watch this fun competition with us…. All Orange fans are welcome.”

Forty-seven-year-old Amsterdamer Murat moved to the Netherlands from Turkey’s Anatolia region 20 years ago. He’ll be watching the game with his extended family—all of them Dutch.

“My wife is Dutch, my daughter was born here,” he says. “I’m the only Turkish one. But it’s not hard for me. It doesn’t matter who the winner will be. I will celebrate.”

“We hope for a beautiful and memorable evening,” adds Gedik. “So that the best [team] may win.”



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