The head of the organization that represents about 2.7 million Turks who live in Germany has warned that Wednesday's semifinal match at the European Championship between the two
countries is likely to cause tension between the opposing sets of supporters.
"It will be a very emotional game," said Kenan Kolat, head of the Turkish Community. "Little things can happen. If there are unfair or wrong calls from the referee, then feelings will be
running high - on both sides."
Up to nine first-choice Turkey players could be out due to injury and supension for the match at St. Jakob Park in Basel, Switzerland. While Germany - which has won 11 matches against Turkey, drawn three and lost three - is expected to have a full squad of 23 players to choose from.
Police patrols in major cities across Germany were beefed up from Tuesday, as German and Turkis fans readied for their teams' first matchup in a major tournament in five decades.
In Oberhausen, in the heavily industrial Ruhr River Valley where hundreds of thousands of Turkish laborers settled in the 1950s and 60s at the invitation of the then West German government, an open-air broadcast of the matc has been scraped due to security
fears and lack of space.
Police in the region say up to 15,000 fans could have attended the event and they weren't sure if they would have fit into the area or kept safe.
"We are prepared for anything," said Ulrich Fassbender, a police spokesman in nearby Essen.
Germany's top security official, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, hopes that all will be peaceful after the match.
"May not only the best team win on Wednesday, but German-Turkish friendship as well," Schaeuble told B.Z. daily.
While many of the estimated 2.7 million Turks, or Turkish-Germans, re fully integrated in society, many others speak German poorly and live in large Turkish-speaking communities that
have little in common with the country where they reside.
Studies show that some 20 percent of Turkish children never finish school, while 42 percent only finish the equivalent of 10th grade.
Since the two teams qualified, Turkish and German flags have fluttered side by side from balconies and car windows from Cologne to Berlin, reflecting a spirit of togetherness, especially by young Turks born or raised in Germany and families whose members hail fro
It will be a great event of soccer. As long as it's peaceful," said Handan Atak, a Turkish citizen who has lived in Duesseldorf since she was 13 and has a German son-in-law. "So far,
we have watched all the games together." (***)