Diyarbakır football club subjected to racist attack in league match

Footballers of Amedspor, the team of the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır, have been subjected to racist attacks in a league match against Bursaspor. Bursaspor fans threw water bottles and explosive materials at Amedspor players.

Photo: DHA

Duvar English

Footballers of Amedspor, the football team of the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır, have been subjected to several racist attacks before, in, and after a Turkish second league match against Bursaspor in the latter's stadium.

On early March 5, a group of Bursaspor fans exploded fireworks, chanted abusive slogans in front of the hotel where Amedspor players stayed.

Right before the match, when Amedspor players came out to examine Bursaspor's stadium pitch, Bursaspor players advanced upon Amedspor players. 

While Amedspor players were returning to the locker room, fans threw water bottles and explosive materials.

On the other hand, there were posters of “White Toros” and Mahmut Yıldrım in the tribunes during the match.

“White Toros” – an old vehicle specially designed for Turkish drivers by French Renault’s local representative – symbolized the embodiment of state fear in the 1990s in Turkey's southeast. Hundreds of Kurdish people became victims of enforced disappearances in Turkey during this period, abducted by gendarmerie intelligence, or JİTEM, with Toros brand.

Mahmut Yıldırım, who was a member of JİTEM, played a role in enforced disappearances of thousands of people in the 1990s and is known by the code name "Green".

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced that officers who were responsible for the posters brought into the stadium were suspended and an investigation was launched against them.

“Scenes other than football are unacceptable and cannot be associated with sports,” Soylu said in a tweet.

Amedspor released footage of a person from the tribunes throwing a stone onto the field with a sling and said "They entered the stadium with a slingshot and tried to injure our players like this. That's where the word ends."

The fans continued throwing materials to Amedspor players after the match.

The match was not suspended despite the incidents and Bursaspor beat Amedspor 2-1.

Amedspor chair Selahattin Yıldırım said, "I would like to congratulate our players and our coaches who have fought fearlessly despite all the barbarism and attacks that have been experienced since yesterday, despite the fact that the referee waited for someone to die so that the match could be suspended."

On the other hand, Bursaspor did not condemn what happened and said “We would expect the same sensitivity after the match in Diyarbakir, where we just 'go to play football.’. Bursaspor is above politics. This city is ours. This love is ours!”

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar said “We stand by Amedspor against organized lynching and fascism.”

“The Turkish Football Federation (TFF), which allowed the match to be played, the Governor’s Office, the police and all the officials, who allowed those criminal elements to be carried on the field and did not take any precautions even on the pitch, are clearly guilty and involved in crime. They should resign immediately,” they added.

Jailed former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said “You keep your head up as always Amedspor and play your amazing football. Leave the political extensions of the White Toros to us. We did not surrender to their fathers.”

Other politicians also condemned the incidents in the northwestern province of Bursa.

Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoğlu said “The scenes that we do not want to see in the Bursaspor-Amedspor match have deeply saddened us. Messages praising violence harm the spirit of solidarity that our country needs right now. We invite everyone to common sense and the authorities to duty so that what happened does not happen again.”

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu said “Amedspor, the target of racist attacks and physical violence, came to Bursa to play football. #Amedsporisnotalone.