During the Spanish Civil War in mid 20th century, fascist leader Francisco Franco ruled the country with 3 main activities: Fiesta, Flamenco and Football. Whenever he lost his authority or if the public started to question him, he controlled the country with football and manipulated his people. Spanish people were in love with football and it was totally a brainwashing technique.
This issue is very similar to today’s Turkey. I am definitely not mentioning there is a fascist leader upon us, but unfortunately football teams and their fans have enormous effect on the country’s politics and economics. Whenever a Turkish team competes on the international level, the country goes to sleep for an hour and half. For several years Turkey’s TV rating records belongs to the national team. It is even bigger deal than the club competitions. Reaching a further point in 2002 when Turkey competed in the World Cup, children would go to their schools in the morning and watched football matches instead of going to classes. Today there is a lot going on in Turkey: the tapes, elections, the frustration between Russia and Ukraine. But still football is in the headlines. No matter what happens in Turkey, football is always more important!
To sum, there is a very interesting fact about the biggest and arguably the most important protest in Turkish history, Gezi Parkı. During the protests the football season in Turkey was in summer break. One cannot help to ask if there would be a Gezi if the football season were ongoing. Or even if it did happen, would be this dominant. Football is a very effective way to keep the attention of the public away from what is happening in the country.