No hard feelings for Ersan Gülüm
It has been reported that Guus Hiddink has picked Ersan Gülüm for Turkey in the friendly against the Netherlands, locking him out of a potential Socceroos berth.
Inevitably this will bring out outrage fans about how he is betraying the country of his birth and there will be comparisons with him and Josip Šimunić.
However, in this case, I’m generally supportive of his decision to represent Turkey over Australia.
People may be surprised of this considering that I wrote in the past that FIFA should follow cricket’s lead by banning players from playing for the country of their parents’ heritage as I believe it’s an inappropriate indicator of national identity.
My opinion of that is still unchanged.
However, there is a key difference between Ersan Gülüm and Josip Šimunić. Ersan Gülüm is a migrant of Turkey. He has lived in that country for the past five years, he pays taxes, and he directly contributes to the Turkish economy and society.
Even if he didn’t have Turkish heritage, he would still be eligible to play for that country.
The fact is, people have the right to migrate to another country and Australia benefits from migration just as much as (and arguably more so) Turkey.
Throughout history, Australia has benefited from people coming to Australia and representing this country with distinction. Most of the 1974 Socceroos were born overseas and one of Australia greatest defenders, Milan Ivanović, a member of FFA Hall Of Fame, was a migrant from Yugoslavia.
By holding grudges for Ersan Gülüm for migrating to another country and representing them in international football, it would be disrespectful to the migrants who came to this country and represented Australia.
Therefore, I wish Ersan Gülüm good luck in a long and prosperous career for the Turkish national team.