A court in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır (Amed) province issued bans on attending football matches in stadiums to nine people for failing to stand up for the Turkish national anthem during Sunday’s game. One of the young men was Zana Efe, who suffers from epilepsy, Mezopotamya Agency reported.
All the young men were also banned from leaving the country, and were released on parole by the court following their arrest. The Amedspor supporters all stand charged with wilfully degrading symbols of the state’s sovereignty, the agency said in another report.
Amedspor is the largest Kurdish football club in Turkey, and no stranger to conflict over nationalist sentiment in the country. In October, the team and its supporters faced racist chants at a game in western Turkey, in the wake of a suicide bombing in the southern Mersin province. “We need you to crush them, especially after the terrorist attack in Mersin,” the city’s gendarmerie commander said ahead of the match.
While such chants and comments fly under the radar, Amedspor fans and players have been subjected to physical attacks as well as verbal insults. In one incident in 2020, an Amedspor executive was beaten and thrown off a stairwell.
— AMED SK (@AmedsporSK) December 9, 2020
Since the resurgence of the conflict between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2015, Amedspor has faced military salutes, nationalist anthems and various anti-Kurdish actions by rival teams and their fans, daily Evrensel reported.
The team was issued a fine over its fans singing a version of the Kurdish protest song, Resist Diyarbakır, news website Duvar reported.