The Galatasaray fan who never witnessed the Champions League

Barış Terkoğlu

Yayınlanma: 31.08.2023 - 12:45
The Galatasaray fan who never witnessed the Champions League
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Born on January 9, 2009.

Middle name: Mustafa.

Even as a baby, his tears would cease to the tune of "Sahici" by Deniz Seki.

Eight months old, they gave him his first haircut, and his mother kept a lock of it. He grew his cherished thick hair as he grew older.

On September 7, 2009, his first tooth emerged. He took his first steps at the age of one. On his first birthday, he received a letter that read:

"It is one of the most beautiful feelings in our inseparable bond that as we grow together, the depth your presence adds to my life also grows. Being a 'mother' is truly a blessing."

When he reached 14 months old, he said, "Mummy."

A passionate fan of Galatasaray, he was captivated when he witnessed his first match at the stadium through the eyes of a child.

His mother hailed from the Black Sea, while his father originated from Thrace. He used to sing "Hayde" with a dual accent: "Ayde gidelum ayde ayde..."

He was living in Beylikdüzü and enjoyed walks by the pond in Bahçeşehir with his father, hands clasped behind his back.

At the age three, he experienced a fall that resulted in a broken arm. For his 4th birthday, he meticulously planned every detail, including wearing a black tie over a black striped shirt.

When he turned 5, he learned the art of flying a kite. That same year marked the commencement of his kindergarten journey, with his first rucksack proudly bearing the Galatasaray crest.

The school also meant exposure to contagious illnesses. Upon recovering, he exclaimed, "I'm back to life!"

His tailor's grandfather meticulously crafted his first suit. Upon donning it, he jubilantly proclaimed, "I'm a groom!"

His treasured toy, Minnie, was a constant companion. He affectionately named his pet dog Sugar. His first battery-powered toy car was a Ferrari, and his inaugural bicycle bore the name Mavi.

Just before turning 6, he gained a room of his own. Two months before his birthday, he visited Anıtkabir for the first time. He commenced football school within the Galatasaray infrastructure.

During the time when his mother mourned for Berkin Elvan, he sought to console her: "I will become the president of Turkey first, as the country needs saving. After entrusting it to you, I will follow my dream of becoming a footballer."

On Mother's Day, he graced the stage wearing a bee costume. He recited a heartfelt poem to his mother and gifted her his handprint, lovingly preserved in a frame.

He articulated philosophical sentences such as "Fear confines people, courage grants freedom," resembling a young philosopher.

His aspiration was to become a footballer, with Barcelona being his destination. He proudly donned the team jersey while exploring the streets of Barcelona, capturing memories alongside the players in photographs.

The number 9 held immense significance to him—it was his school number, jersey number. He meticulously detailed his dreams age nine, compiling a list of countries he longed to visit. That year, his greatest wish was for Galatasaray to secure the championship title.

Despite his youth, he bore numerous concerns and fixations. He was waking up at night due to nightmares. I wake up as I leap from the window. It's always the same, I'm terrified."

He harboured a curiosity about Eskişehir. Never having experienced a train ride, he persuaded his mother with the words, "I saw it in advertisements, the train is fast." The plan underwent two postponements, once due to illness and once for Galatasaray auditions.

School ended, and summer vacation began. His father had a special surprise in store:

"We're taking a train to Uzunköprü."

With his mother's kiss on his neck, they parted ways.

This was the first time he would embark on a train journey with his father. His excitement was palpable as he video-called his mother, eagerly showcasing the train's interior. The beauty and speed of the train left him in awe.



Then, ''Breaking news: Train crash.''

(Mustafa) Oğuz Arda Sel tragically died in a train accident in Çorlu on July 8, 2018, at the tender age of 9. He laid to rest alongside his father in Uzunköprü.

I came across his poignant narrative in his mother Mısra Öz's book, "Hep 9 Yaşında-Bir Melek Masalı" (Kırmızı Kedi Publishing).

Within these pages, Arda's nine years of life and the events that unfolded evidence could even collected:

"Within 48 hours of the crash, before the evidence had collected, before the blood of the dead had time to dry, new journeys had already begun."

If I were to share this story with you, your response might be, "I was already aware"

The investigation heavily favoured those responsible. The railway was improperly constructed, with unqualified managers overseeing its operations. Politicians shielded them from accountability, attributing the accident to rain and fate. Research proposals met with rejection through AKP-MHP votes in Parliament. Meanwhile, Arda's mother faced prosecution for her vocal stance against injustice, while the true culprits of an accident that claimed 25 lives and left 340 injured (according to official reports) escaped trial. Families silenced through the use of batons, gas, and beatings. Even visiting a child's grave was carried out under the watchful eye of the police.

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