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Erdogan in crackdown on ‘un-Turkish’ arenas

"There is no such word in our language," says the Turkish president, as he decrees every arena will soon be called a stadium

By Jon Chapple on 30 May 2017

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan pictured in 2014


Türk Telekom Arena – the home ground of football team Galatasaray SK and an occasional 70,000-cap. concert venue – has become the first Turkish stadium to change its name following criticism of the word ‘arena’ by president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan, an Islamist autocrat who earlier this year won a referendum granting him sweeping new powers, is a vocal supporter of removing ‘foreign’ loanwords from the Turkish language. He announced last week he had instructed sports minister Akif Cagatay Kilic to order Turkey’s open-air stadia, many of which are called arenas, to change their names.

“I am against arenas,” he said on Friday. “You know what they do in arenas, don’t you? People were dismembered [in Roman arenas]. I have given the instruction to the minister and we will remove the name arena from stadia. There is no such thing in our language.”

Both ‘arena’ and ‘stadium’ have classical origins: the former from Latin arēna and the latter from Ancient Greek στάδιον (stádion).

“We will remove the name arena from stadia. There is no such thing in our language”

Other Turkish stadia with the word ‘arena’ in their names include Vodafone Arena (41,903-cap.) in Istanbul, Timsah Arena (43,331-cap.) in Bursa and Gaziantep Arena (33,502-cap.) in Gaziantep, while indoor arenas include Ülker Sports Arena (15,000-cap.) and Volkswagen Arena (5,800-cap.), both in Istanbul, and Hayri Gür Arena (7,500-cap.) in Pelitli.

According to the pro-government Daily Sabah, the Turkish Language Institute (TDK) approves of Erdogan’s anti-arena intervention. Describing words such as “arena, tower and mall” as the height of linguistic corruption, TDK head Mustafa Kacalin calls the campaign for language purity a “life and death struggle. Just the way our parliament was bombed on 15 July, our language faces bombing each and every day,” he says.

According to Freemuse, Erodgan’s Turkey was the second biggest violator of artistic freedom in 2016.

 


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6 responses to “Erdogan in crackdown on ‘un-Turkish’ arenas”

  1. Ed Lampman says:

    Just who is this Erdogan guy?

    A UN report has confirmed that Erdogan sent his army, with attack helicopters and tanks, into the major Kurdish cities in the southeast of Turkey. They established 24/7 (yes, 24/7) curfews for weeks at a time, killing over 2,000.

    Turkey has more journalists in jail than any country in the world.

    Since an attempted coup last summer apparently led by military officers, Erdogan has had the country living in a constant “state of emergency’ detaining, firing, and/or jailing close to 160,000 people.

    Anyone who disagrees with Erdogan is called either a Kurdish terrorist, a Gulenist terrorist, or a lackey of the West. Erdogan has recently called Netherlands and German officials “Nazis.” During the state of emergency while repressing opposition, Erdogan recently held a fraudulent referendum, granting himself one-man rule powers. Thus while Erdogan was a butcher and tyrant, he has become a butcher and dictator.

    The US has recently removed its nuclear weapons from the Incirlik Air Base, also drawing down its operations there. Turkey’s role in NATO is much less important than in 1952, when it joined. During the past two years Erdogan has increasingly isolated himself from everyone — the EU, US, even Russia is defending the Kurds in Afrin from Turkey. Isn’t it time for NATO to rid itself of this dictator?

  2. Ed Lampman says:

    Just who is this Erdogan guy?

    A UN report has confirmed that Erdogan sent his army, with attack helicopters and tanks, into the major Kurdish cities in the southeast of Turkey. They established 24/7 (yes, 24/7) curfews for weeks at a time, killing over 2,000.

    Turkey has more journalists in jail than any country in the world.

    Since an attempted coup last summer apparently led by military officers, Erdogan has had the country living in a constant “state of emergency’ detaining, firing, and/or jailing close to 160,000 people.

    Anyone who disagrees with Erdogan is called either a Kurdish terrorist, a Gulenist terrorist, or a lackey of the West. Erdogan has recently called Netherlands and German officials “Nazis.” During the state of emergency while repressing opposition, Erdogan recently held a fraudulent referendum, granting himself one-man rule powers. Thus while Erdogan was a butcher and tyrant, he has become a butcher and dictator.

    The US has recently removed its nuclear weapons from the Incirlik Air Base, also drawing down its operations there. Turkey’s role in NATO is much less important than in 1952, when it joined. During the past two years Erdogan has increasingly isolated himself from everyone — the EU, US, even Russia is defending the Kurds in Afrin from Turkey. Isn’t it time for NATO to rid itself of this dictator?

  3. Ed Lampman says:

    Just who is this Erdogan guy?

    A UN report has confirmed that Erdogan sent his army, with attack helicopters and tanks, into the major Kurdish cities in the southeast of Turkey. They established 24/7 (yes, 24/7) curfews for weeks at a time, killing over 2,000.

    Turkey has more journalists in jail than any country in the world.

    Since an attempted coup last summer apparently led by military officers, Erdogan has had the country living in a constant “state of emergency’ detaining, firing, and/or jailing close to 160,000 people.

    Anyone who disagrees with Erdogan is called either a Kurdish terrorist, a Gulenist terrorist, or a lackey of the West. Erdogan has recently called Netherlands and German officials “Nazis.” During the state of emergency while repressing opposition, Erdogan recently held a fraudulent referendum, granting himself one-man rule powers. Thus while Erdogan was a butcher and tyrant, he has become a butcher and dictator.

    The US has recently removed its nuclear weapons from the Incirlik Air Base, also drawing down its operations there. Turkey’s role in NATO is much less important than in 1952, when it joined. During the past two years Erdogan has increasingly isolated himself from everyone — the EU, US, even Russia is defending the Kurds in Afrin from Turkey. Isn’t it time for NATO to rid itself of this dictator?

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