details of interview
Role of the Interviewed: tennis, professional
Type of radicalization: verbal violence and ethnic humiliation
Historical period collocation: 2013
Date/Country of the Interview: 28/01/2019, Türkiye
Interviewer: Hacettepe University
Have you witnessed or experienced personal situations of radicalization during your activity in sport organizations? What kind of radicalizations have you detected? (Gender, politics, religion, racism, crime, homophobia…)
Yes, I've experienced. It is about ethnicity. There are different ethnicities in our country. Each one has its language. Also, each ethnic group speaks Turkish with its specific accent.
Telling your story. What has happened? How has the story started?
In 2012, I attended a tennis tournament in Antalya. There were many tennis players from different cities. There were no problems in the first days. Then some of my teammates laughed at other athletes who spoke with an accent. Worse still, the parents of my teammates also laughed at them, instead of warning their children for their misbehavior.
How did you realize what was going on? What kind of signals could you detect? How do you explain radicalization, referring to your experience?
I saw some of my team mates stare and snicker at other players who speak with an accent. Body languages were disturbing. They also used verbally provocative words.Prejudice and attitudes affect radicalization.
Have you tried to cope with this situation? What was possible to do? What have you done? Have you involved other people/organizations? Who was involved?
Yes, I tried to stop them. I talked to my teammates and told them that their behavior was wrong. My teammates did not behave in the same way again. My words positively affected their behavior. Someone else wasn't involved. Maybe they didn't notice the misbehavior of players.
Did you feel you had the skills to manage this kind of situations? Which was the most difficult part of it? Have you had any form of support?
Yes, I felt. I hesitated before talking to my friends. I couldn't guess whether they would accept their behavior was wrong. I gathered my courage and spoke to them. What I said was useful, and they didn't act like that again. Actually, I expected to receive support from their parents. I did not receive any support from them.
In my opinion, it is the wrong behavior to be ridiculed by a person's appearance, speech, and ethnic identity. What bothers me is that parents approve the improper behavior of their children. They laughed together with their children and condoned their behavior.
End of the story. How did the story end up? What have you learned from this personal experience? What would you say to people who are living similar situations?
My teammates didn’t repeat the same attitude but didn’t apologize either. Peers can influence each other's behavior positively or negatively. Feel free to warn your friends to any misbehaviors you have witnessed. I want to tell my peers not to be biased.I believe that if we accept people as they are, we can reduce discrimination and radicalization. I warned my friends and got positive results. I want to say that parents should be a positive example to their children and that they should not ignore their wrong behaviors.
Conclusions. Are there other relevant aspects related to (de)radicalization that you want to highlight?
In my opinion, discrimination and radicalization can be prevented if prejudice decreases, and the education level increases.