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Monday, 23 June 2008


After the EURO 2008 quarter-final match between Turkey and Croatia, street fights are reported from Bosnian cities of mixed Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Muslim communities where 27 were injured and 33 taken under custody according to Bosnian daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz.


Fan riot occurred last night after the match between Turkey – Croatia. 16 policemen injured….

Public relation Officer at the Ministry of Internal affairs Srećko Bošnjak said that initial disorder started at two sites, prior at Square Rondo, where football fans of Croatian representation gathered. Just after the match tear gas was thrown at the members of police and fans attempted to go to Spanish Square (Španski trg).

At Square Musala football fans of Turkish representation started disorder as well, trying to reach Spanish Square too.

"Police tried to prevent fan groups to confront and pushed back both of them in different directions. We can say that around 2000 people from both sides participated it", said Bošnjak.

He also said that police had to use force, tear gas and combat vehicle in order to repress masses.

At Mostar locality 16 policemen and four fans are injured, four police vehicles and one special combat vehicle of police are damaged, and major material damage has been done. 16 persons are arrested. There were two attempts of direct car attacks at police officers. Both cases are documented; attackers are identified and will be processed.


At locality of Čapljina one policeman is injured, and five persons are arrested while at locality of Stolac three policemen are injured and eight persons arrested.

Nine citizen's vehicles are damaged in Neum, while in Čitluk four persons are arrested.


Two persons injured in disoder.

Upon the end of the match between Turkey and Croatia in the center of Žepče public order occurred

Two persons suffer ailment bodily injuries, but police refuse to precise whether injured persons are Bosniak or Croat nationality.

"Around 11:15 pm in the center of Žepče, group of app 200 fans of representation of Croatia gathered. At that moment convoy of twenty cars of Turkish representation supporters came across. Disturbance of public order occurred. Six citizen's cars have been damaged (three own by Croats and three own by Bosniaks)", duty operating Officer at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Zenica – Doboj Canton declared.

Stones and hard objects were used during disorder, and police of Žepče and Resource units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Zenica – Doboj Canton reacted.

No other incidents were recorded on Friday evening in the other municipalities of Zenica – Doboj Canton.

On the other side, it has been observed that some Bosnians had celebrated victory of Turkey in Bosnian cities like Sarajevo, Tuzlaü, Zenica by sirens in car convoys and flambeaux in city centers.

During the match 3 people had died because of heart attack in Turkey, where 27 were wounded by the bullets after the match. It has been reported that those incidences do not have any relation with the Croat-Bosniak conflict. (!)

(Translated by: Lejla Gotovuša)

Translated and piled from original articles:

Saturday, 21 June 2008


(From Slobodna Dalmacija, Croatian national daily newspaper)

After the defeat Croatian coach Slaven Bilić sadly faced seat in front of the journalists.

- The match was good and congratulations to all participants. It was a game with incredible ending that can happen only in football. In 120 minutes we had more clear chances, and they had their pressure that was lasted from time to time. They were not indifferent, but I think that we were much better rival. It is not possible to describe the last two minutes and we will be hunted by it for the rest of our lives – Bilić started his story.

How did you experience stressful penalties?

- Penalties are lottery. I am proud of my players and there is nothing I can object to them at all. But we are sad and unhappy because we thought that with this team we can go up to the end. We haven't deserved to loose.

With such a little time after Klasnić gained the goal it did not occur nobody's mind that Turks can return.

- It was not in my mind that we will receive a goal, but pressure from their side was expected. After the first minute we had kept the ball, we started the counter-attack that ended in hinterland. Ball bounced to ninth and it ended the way it ended – Bilić remembered.

Received goal was wind in the back for Croatian rival just before execution of the strike eleven meters away.

- To accede the penalties after it looked that it was over was shocking. Turks were in physiological head start. I do not know what was players had in their minds, but I am sure that they were rewinding the received goal. In two minutes before execution of the penalty everybody were talking about that goal - said Bilić.

Everybody was under the stress since the best player, in 120 minutes, Luka Modrić missed the first penalty already.

- Luka was awesome and he did not deserve to miss the penalty. By the way, during the whole tournament he was masterful. Honestly, not any player either ours or Turkish did not deserve to miss. And Turks? It is already the third match they are wining in extreme way and if the luck and persistence will follow them during the match with Germany, it is likely possible that they will enter the finals. It is obvious that besides quality there is something more that pushes them forward, something that matches for them. They are handicapped, they have one day lass for resting, and physically they exhausted themselves in the second game. With lots of wounded it will be difficult. May be some of them will return. I know that Turks will not give up until the end.

There is World Championship ahead of Croatia.

- It is not easy to forget this and move forward. This is not match that is playing weekly. The way we lost is difficult. This is impossible to forget. On the other side, we have to move forward, we have young team, and qualifications for the World championship are in front of the door. But tomorrow will be a new day and the sun will shine. My players have terrific character, we will return even bigger.

Bilić mentioned extension of extension.

The referee prolongs for two minutes, and we thought that is was over. It is specific situation when minutes are flying away for them and dragging for us. We tried two – three times to make a switch, the player was ready. I do not know why he did not allow us. But we are not making excuse on referee, it was not his fault. If he played the end, Turks would be attacked by Turks.

What did players say?

Luka Modrić came with red eyes, and he was not hiding that he was crying:

- This is a great sorrow and disappointment, with the goal in the last second Turkey bitted us psychologically. Well, how can I know would it be different if it was 0:0, who would know it now? The truth is that after the goal we were nervous about penalties, in two minutes we saw ourselves in semi-finals, and it would the fair because we played good and we had much more chances.

Dario Šimić:

- I am in sock. In 119th minute I saw us in semi-finals. A minute later I couldn't believe what was happening. I have never experienced something like this. It was difficult to suffer this in change room, especially for young players.

Stipe Pletikosa:

- What to say? I still cannot believe that this is happening. Is there in the world a team that scores goals in the last minutes in three matches at row?

Interview by: Pero Smolčić

Translated by: Lejla Gotovuša

Friday, 20 June 2008


Commissar on duty in Ministry of Internal Affairs of Hercegovina-Neretva Canton Himzo Đonko announced that police forces will confront to any attempt of creation of disorder during and after the Croatia-Turkey match which will played today in Euro 2008 in Wien. There will be 650 policemen from Herzegovina, among there will be significant numbers of rarely equipped members of Special unit of MIA HNK known as "Turtles".

Special attention will be devoted to Mostar, Stolac and Prozor where is possible that eventual confrontations of hooligans will turn into international encounter. They reminde readers on incidents that occur two years ago after the match between Croatia and Brazil at World Championship when huge riot happened. Couple days ago there were some incidents after the match between Croatia - Germany.
(Translation assistance by: Lejla Gotovuša)


Before the quarter final match between Croatia and Turkey in EURO 2008, which will be played today, I wanted to write my observations about the friendly match between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia that was played last year relating both of the matches. This will also be an opportunity for me to write something into my blog again after a long time.


Stadium: Koševo

Date: August 22, 2007

Sarajevo Film Festival is going on. Sarajevans are running from one venue to another to watch as much films as possible. My favorite films are those new films which are directed in ex-Yugoslav geography. I also try to catch short and documentary films as a habit that I have since my university years in Ankara. We were not missing short and documentary films in Ankara Film Festival, as they were free of charge. At 14:30, there is a documentary film called “Karneval”. This is a Montenegrin-Bosnian co-production. The theme is about the human rights assault of Montenegrin government to the Bosnian refugees during the war in 1992-1995 referring to Montenegro’s unwillingness to share the sins of war with the big brother Serbia. The producer of the documentary is a name that I recognize: Boro Kontić is a Montenegrin originated Bosnian journalist who is also a great fan of Željeznićar. He does not miss the matches in Grbavica. The primary source of information for social scientists during the fieldwork are usually journalists who can give you information about everything. In fact, Boro had always replied my questions with a great patience in Sarajevo Media Center, while having a coffee or rakija together.

While I was running to the Bosnian Culture Center, which was the venue for the film, I met another guy whom I knew. Although I could recognize his face, I could not remember who he was. Just before entering the Bosnian Culture Center, I have remembered who he was: Jeremy Irons! He was walking neither with bodyguards nor with a group of people who bores him with autographs of photos. Sarajevans are pride of being so much interested in arts without railroading celebrity artists. It can be the reason why Sarajevo had always been an attractive city for artists even during the war. A note: This year it will be fourteenth anniversary of the film festival, where the first one was organized in 1995 during the war.

After the film, I had a walk in the city center. The Marshal Tito Street is like a battlefield. While I was watching the film, there was a fight between Bosnian and Croat football fans. Today, there will be a “friendly” match between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

In the first sight, that match between two neighbors does not look like an important one. However, the history had witnessed great tragedies. During the war in 1992-1995, Croats were fighting against Serbs with Bosnians. However, after a while they opened a third front with the provocation of nationalist leaders in order to be able to take a “piece” from Bosnia which was already been smashed. Mostar is the city that witnessed the biggest tragedies of that war. Te buildings on Šantićeva Street are still in ruins. Šantićeva Street was the borderline in Mostar that divided the city into two parts: Western Croat, and Eastern Bosnian parts. After shelling the Serbian Orthodox church in East Mostar, the Croat artillery had destroyed the Mostar Bridge aiming at sweeping all the symbols of fraternity of different cultures. No one can forget the scene of the fall of the historical, beautiful Mostar Bridge. Although since the end of the war, there are relatively good relations between Bosnian and Croatian government, it seems the tragic experiences in Mostar are difficult to be forgotten. Two years ago, during and after the match between Croatia and Brazil in the World Cup in Germany, there had been tension between Bosnian Muslim and Croat communities in especially in Mostar, sometimes causing serious conflicts. Bosnian Croats who are ethnically affiliated with Croatia were supporting Croatian national team, whereas Bosnian Muslims were supporting Brazil against Croatia. Is it possible if the match between Croatia and Turkey which will be played today may cause similar, even more serious problems? The answer may be found in the friendly match between Croatia and Bosnia which was played last year.

I was a bit late to the match that had begun at 20:00. Just at the moment I entered into the stadium Croatia scared a goal. I met with Adnan, Admir and Damir at Koševo Istok (Eastern part of Stadium). Adnan is my buddy with I had been many matches in Sarajevo. He is from Herzegovina and a hard core fan of Mortar’s team Velež. Admir is from central Bosnian town Zavidoviči, and Damir is his cousin. Admir and Damir are not very much interested in football, but what would be more enjoyable to go to a football match in a nice summer night? There are approximately 15,000 Bosnian fans in the stadium, and around 1,000 Croats. It takes nine hours to get to Sarajevo from Zagreb by bus, which means just an overnight travel. That is exactly not a great distance for fanatics, but I was surprised by the amount of fans that came to Sarajevo because of a “friendly” game. Adnan told me that most of supporters of Croatia are ethnic Croats from Bosnia. This is visible from the banners at the Croat side, which represent different locations in Bosnia. This is not acceptable by Bosnian fans. Both of the sides swear to each other during the whole match. I have to mention that Croatian and Bosnian are almost the same language. Grammar structure is the same, but only some vocabulary differs. More than two different languages, they resemble two different dialects. So, both sides can understand the swearwords of the other side. From time to time, instead of swearwords, the fans prefer to throw coins or similar things to each other. Now, it is 1-1 and Bosnians are more hopeful. However, Croats score two more goals and disappoint Bosnians. Croats make good passes in midfield and look for goal by rapid attacks. Bosnian players do their best, but could not avoid deadly attacks of Croats and the score is 1-3. One more goal of Bosnia gives hope to the fans but the final score is 3-5 for Croats.

During the match, when Croat fans attempted to throw flambeaus to the Bosnian fans, there was a clash between policemen and Croatian fans. A slogan of Bosnian fans took my attention: “Zagreb će biti turska mahala”. I got a bit surprised. It means: Zagreb will be Turkish “mahala” (district). In my previous article on my observations about the football match played between Slavija and Sarajevo, I had already mentioned about great sympathy of Bosnians towards Turkey. But, even that sort of sympathy makes me to be surprised. I complain to Adnan that it had been almost two centuries since Turks had left Bosnia and we still have problems with Serbs (and Croats) because of them (Bosnians)”. Adnan takes attention to the roots of the conflict. That is Turkish occupation. What shall I say? In fact, he is true. Adnan had met many Turks when he was living in Germany during the war. Since teaching swearwords to the foreigners is the first cultural diffusive attempt of an average Turk, Adnan is also good at swearing in Turkish language, besides essential swearwords of Bosnian language.

When Turkey was seeded with Croatia for the quarter final match of EURO 2008, I remembered that slogan: “Zagreb će biti turska mahala”. Considering the fact that there had been clashes during the match between Croatia and Bosnia, I am curious about what would happen during and after the match between Croatia and Turkey. Mostar has a fame of violence related with football. The Mostar team Zrinjski was banned during the Yugoslav period since it was supported by fascist Croatian (Ustaşi) regime during the Second World War. After the collapse of Yugoslavia, one of the first implementations of nationalist Croatian politicians was to re-activate the club. Velež fans are angry on that issue. There are two reasons for that: Firstly, Velež has got a claim of representing Bosnian (or better to say; Herzegovinian) identity, whereas Zrinjski appear as a nationalist entity provoking ethnic hatred. The second issue is that, Velež fans claim that Zrinjski had stolen their Stadium Bijeli Brijeg. Bijeli Brijeg is located in the so-called Croatian Western part of Mostar, and was rented by Zrinjski club for 49 years in some informal ways. All of Zrinjski-Velež matches are causes of street fights in Mostar. Especially when the matches are in Bijeli Brijeg, since the Velež fans has to pass through district with high buildings, they have to interfere with the jars, or other types of pots thrown from the flats. The rivalry between those teams may sometimes end up with very strange events. Last season, tens of fans were injured during the match in Mostar between Zrinjski and Partizan from Serbia when two teams were seeded in UEFA Cup. Some Velež fans had supported Partizan. Keeping also in mind what happened during the match between Croatia and Brazil, those two examples may give some hints about what can happen in Mostar during the match between Croatia and Turkey. According to the evening news of Federal TV in Bosnia in June 18, Mostar polis has already taken precautions in case of any clashes. Obviously, Zagreb will not be a Turkish district, but Turkish mahala atmosphere will be more or less effective in at least half of Mostar.

And, what about the game Bosnia-Croatia? My Bosnian friends did not make any technical analysis about the game. It has been a long time that “110 x 70 meter grass field” is the last think that is spoken about football in Balkans…