March 1 – In a disgraceful indictment of Turkey’s autocratic regime, supporters of Fenerbahçe, who chanted anti-government slogans during a previous match, have been banned from attending this weekend’s game against Kayserispor.
The move has been taken in retaliation for fans calling for the resignation of the government because of its slow response to the devastating earthquake in the country and neighbouring Syria.
Fans of both Fenerbahce and Besiktas – two of the country’s most prominent teams – shouted slogans criticising the government’s handling of the recovery effort following the quakes earlier this month that left 50,000 people dead in southern Turkey and northern Syria.
There has been mounting anger across Turkey at the perceived failings of the government to handle relief efforts
‘Twenty years of lies and cheating, resign’, supporters of Fenerbahce, currently second in Turkey’s Super Lig, shouted during their team’s 4-0 win over Konyaspor.
The Kayseri Provincial National Security Council on Tuesday announced that as a result of the protests, Fenerbahce supporters wouldn’t be allowed to attend this week’s game in the city of Kayseri.
Fenerbahce said it was bewildered by the decision and would not accept it.
“This decision will deepen social division,” the club said. “It has no meaning other than hindering our fans’ desire to support our team and punishing our club.”
The club called on all the concerned authorities to review the decision while Muharrem Ince, an opposition leader from the Hometown Party, declared: “It’s not just Fenerbahce fans they fear. They are afraid of all the fans, they are afraid of the stadiums, they are afraid of this nation.”
“Immediately lift the ban on spectators applied to Fenerbahce. Don’t make football a toy of politics.”
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