The football team that plays for Turkey’s Kurdish- majority Diyarbakır (Amed), Amedspor (Amed Sports Club), received messages of support after being subjected to racist attacks by Bursaspor fans before, during and after a match in Bursa on Sunday.
Imprisoned former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, expressed solidarity with Amedspor and the club’s fans on Twitter.
“Keep your heads up as always Amedspor, and play your magnificent game. Leave the political extensions of the White Taurus to us [politicians]. We didn’t surrender to their overlords, nor will we to their remnants,” he said.
The politician was referring to symbols representing extrajudicial abductions and killings that took place in Turkey’s southeast during the 1990s, displayed by Bursaspor fans during the match on Sunday. A picture of White Toros (Taurus) and a model of a Renault car used in the 1990s by Turkish Gendarmes Intelligence and Anti-Terrorist Units (JİTEM) to make the abductions, were held up to intimidate Amedspor during the match.
The racist attacks were condemned by the European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress (KCDK-E). The Kurdish organisation underlined the government’s urge to divert attention away from the football fans’ protests, that held the government responsible for the extent of devastation the recent earthquake disaster caused in Turkey.
On Amedspor’s return to Diyarbakir, fans that chanted, “No passage for fascism,” and, “Amedspor is not alone,” were blocked by police at the airport entrance.
Amedspor’s supporters were kept waiting at the entrance, and chanted, “Let the hands reaching Amed be broken,” and demanded the resignation of the country’s football federations. Despite calls to take a break, the match went on while thousands watched in despair as objects, including knives and bullets, showered down from Bursaspor’s stands onto Amedspor players throughout the match.
Amedspor has called out both the Interior Ministry and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) in response to the attacks.
Amedspor’s vice-president, Cahit Akın said that the attacks were planned, and recalled comments made by Turkey’s interior minister Süleyman Soylu in 2019 that accused the football club of receiving instructions from a terrorist organisation. “If an interior minister makes such a statement, ignorant crowds sure will attack,” Akın said.
While Amedspor announced that they will file a criminal complaint against Bursaspor, the Turkish police detained 10 people in relation to the attacks.
Soylu on Sunday announced during the match that negligent public servants that allowed the attacks during the match were suspended from duty.