Ne var, ne yok?

Türkiye! Türkiye! Türkiye!

Above: Today’s front page from Bugün, published in Istanbul, Turkey (image via Newseum). With yet another incredible victory, Turkey advances to the Euro 2008 semi-final match with Germany.

Above: from Bild, this celebration took place in Berlin, not Turkey. Tens of thousands celebrated on the legendary Kurfürstendam and beyond (30,000+ in Hamburg took the Reeperbahn!) — a true testament not just of Germany’s population make-up, but of the far-flung state of national allegiances and residency.

Interesting as well, both the Turkish and Croatian sides were replete with players that earn their living in the German Bundesliga.

Ne var, ne yok.
A common greeting (slightly antiquated?) in Turkey, loosely translated, “How’s everything?” Literally translated, and infinitely more pleasing, “What is, what isn’t?” (See the introduction to the incomparable work of Ara Güler, Istanbul.) As we look back on Turkey’s third-successive miracle (yesterday’s 4-2 win over Croatia after penalties), I am sure the Croatian coach is asking this same elemental question, or something similar, ne var, ne yok?

How is it possible that his team could lose after taking the lead with less than 40 seconds remaining in overtime? How is it possible that Turkey would equalize 20 seconds into the extra minute added on to overtime? How could they add an extra minute? How could two of his players miss the goal during penalties? Who is the Turkish second-string goalie hero, Rüstü, and how could he play the game of his life?

Perhaps the mystery lies in this simple Turkish joke retold in the introduction to the aforementioned Güler work. A new supercomputer is being put through its paces. Experts from across the globe are invited to test its circuitry by posing difficult questions, all of which the computer handles within milliseconds. A Turkish expert spends a moment with the machine, upon which it promptly shuts down. His question?

Ne var, ne yok.

Ja, the ball is round. Viva Türkiye!

2 Responses to “Ne var, ne yok?”

This was the most thrilling of the victories. The insanity of that comeback boggled and blew my mind. Something is in the water for that team, but will they even have enough of a roster?


Dylan C. Lathrop added these words on Jun 21 08 at 3:15 PM

i am livng yo istanbul. I want to say to you somethings about istanbul, istanbul very nice city for all world. And historical city . (older roma). Now istanbul very big city , living 15milion people. And tradecity . If you have enought time and enought money i prefer to you come istanbul and visit here please.

para sayma makinesi added these words on Mar 11 09 at 6:37 AM

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