15,000 Azeri Flags To Wave At Landmark Soccer Match


October 8, 2009 Thursday

A number of Turkish non-governmental organizations are preparing 15,000
Azerbaijani flags to be distributed among fans for the Turkey-Armenia
soccer match, due in Bursa on October 14, despite earlier reports
saying carrying them had been banned. Turkish media quoted Salcuq
Turkoglu, an NGO representative, as saying that banning Azerbaijani
flags at the stadium would be undemocratic. He noted that the flags
of Azerbaijan and Turkey are inseparable and that the two fraternal
countries are one nation, two states. According to Turkoglu, the
realities of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict should be brought to
the attention of the international community during the match, which
will be intensely watched around the world. From this viewpoint,
supporting the Turkish national team with Azerbaijani flags will
be meaningful. Turkey and Armenia face decades of enmity. Turkey
closed its border with Armenia in 1993 due to Armenian occupation
of Azerbaijani territory and Yerevans claims on the World War I-era
genocide. However, there have lately been signs of normalization
in Ankara-Yerevan ties. The two countries leaders attended a 2010
World Cup qualifying soccer match together in Yerevan in September
2008 when Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish president to visit
Armenia. Further, Gul invited his Armenian counterpart to Turkey for
a return game.

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