Public diplomacy or playing sides? New British envoy says he supports Fenerbahçe

Published 19.07.2018 18:59
Updated 19.07.2018 19:02

New British Ambassador to Turkey Sir Dominick Chilcott declared his affiliation with Turkish sports club Fenerbahçe on Thursday – celebrated as World Fenerbahçe Fan Day – a marked change from his predecessor, who was a strong supporter of archrival club Beşiktaş.

"There could not be a better day to announce which team I support - 19.07 - so Fenerbahce is my team!" Chilcott wrote on Twittter. July 19 is observed as World Fenerbahçe Fan Day because the club was founded in 1907.

‏Chilcott posted a video of himself receiving a Fenerbahçe jersey from the club's new President Ali Koç, with the title "ambassador" written on the back of the jersey. "I look forward to wearing my Fenerbahçe shirt and watching the games," he wrote.

He also posted pictures of his son wearing a Fenerbahçe jersey, saying: "My son, who follows football closely (and has been working with Sky Sports at the World Cup) supports Fenerbahçe as well. We went to a Fenerbahçe match together last year and he bought a shirt."

Chilcott stepped into the post of ambassador in January of this year. His predecessor, Richard Moore, who served from 2014-2017, was a self-proclaimed die-hard fan of Beşiktaş, an archrival to Fenerbahçe.

Having never mentioned Fenerbahçe before on social media, Chilcott's choice seemed to come out of the blue.

Announcing support for the country's popular football clubs is one of the common gestures that foreign ambassadors make to seem more integrated to the country they are stationed in and win over more citizens.

While some Fenerbahçe fans welcomed the ambassador's announcement on Twitter, others suggested he take the effort to buy his son an original jersey this season, not one with an advertisement from sponsor Acıbadem marring the front.

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