HomeSportsTurkish match trouble leads to seven arrests, pro-Kurdish party protest

Turkish match trouble leads to seven arrests, pro-Kurdish party protest

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ISTANBUL, March 6 (Reuters) – Turkish police arrested seven people after violence erupted at a soccer match in the city of Bursa against a team from the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, authorities said, and a pro-Kurdish party said officials should resign over the “open racism” at the game.

Video footage showed players of Amedspor being pelted with water bottles and sharp objects such as small knives on the pitch, while fans chanted Turkish nationalist and anti-Kurdish slogans.

The governor’s office in northwest Turkey’s Bursa province said three public officials were removed from their posts pending an investigation into events at Sunday’s match between Bursapor and Diyarbakir’s Amedspor.

It said prosecutors had launched proceedings against those involved in an assault in the changing rooms after the match and those involved in unfurling banners during the match.

So far seven people have been detained, it added.

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Amedspor are in third place in the third tier of Turkish football after losing 2-1 in Sunday’s game.

The co-leaders of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) issued a statement on Sunday saying Amedspor were subject to an “organised lynching and fascism” in Bursa.

It said they were targeted by racist chants and fireworks fired outside their hotel the night before the match and continued the next day and into the match itself.

Hostility to Amedspor at the match included racist slogans and the display of photos alluding to the killing of Kurdish public figures in the 1980s and 1990s, the HDP said, calling for the resignation of officials who allowed the incident to happen.

In a statement on Monday, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) condemned the “provocative actions and discourses” and vowed action.

“Racist, divisive rhetoric and actions, violent attitudes and behaviors of marginalized groups in stadiums are never acceptable,” TFF said.

On Twitter, Bursaspor shared a video from a match in September last year when they played Amedspor in Diyarbakir, showing riot police shielding Bursaspor players as they were pelted by objects from the crowd.

“We would have expected the same sensitivity from those now pontificating ignorantly after the match in Diyarbakir, where we just ‘went to play football’,” it said. “Bursaspor is above politics.”

Reporting by Daren Butler and Ece Toksabay; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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