Far-right leader Bahçeli praises racist attacks against Amedspor

Ultra-nationalist MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has praised the racist attacks that footballers of Amedspor have been subjected to in a league match against Bursaspor. “I greet Bursaspor fans,” Bahçeli said, praising those who threw water bottles and explosive materials at Amedspor players.

Duvar English

Government-ally and far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on March 7 praised the racist attacks that footballers of Amedspor, the football team of the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır, have been subjected to in a Turkish second league match against Bursaspor in the latter’s stadium.

“The images from the match between Bursaspor and Diyarbakırspor last weekend are against the morals and nature of sports. In our opinion, there is no such place as Amed, and there will be no mention of Amedspor. I greet Bursaspor fans and congratulate them for their national stance. It is murder and disgrace for the separatists to provoke the stadium. My brothers of Kurdish origin are different, separatist terrorists are different,” Bahçeli said in his party’s parliamentary group meeting.

Kurdish people refer to Diyarbakır province as Amed. 

Bursaspor fans threw water bottles and explosive materials at Amedspor players on in a March 5-dated match.

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

Moreover, 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, known by the code name “Green,” also played a role in these notorious murders.

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.

On the other hand, Bahçeli criticized İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener for leaving and rejoining the main opposition bloc Nation Alliance.

“Doesn’t it show a lack of principles to align next to the candidate she said he can't win? How will the İYİ Party chair cope with her strong words? Turkish politics has neither seen nor dealt with this type of lack of principles. She who let down once would let down again and again,” Bahçeli said.

İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener on March 3 announced her departure from the opposition Nation Alliance due to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s expected candidacy for the 2023 presidential elections, one day after the alliance's last meeting. She said that she would be in the alliance if CHP's Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş would be instead nominated for the role, adding Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy was being imposed on their party.

"İYİ Party has been forced to an imposition in a grabbing way, and forced to make a choice between death and malaria," Akşener said, referring to Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu.

On March 6, İmamoğlu and Yavaş visited Akşener at the İYİ Party headquarters. After the meeting, İYİ Party spokesperson Kürşad Zorlu announced that Akşener will participate in the Nation Alliance leaders meeting on the same day and will return to the alliance if İmamoğlu and Yavaş are included in the new cabinet as vice presidents.

In the end, Kılıçdaroğlu has been announced as the presidential candidate, whereas İmamoğlu and Yavaş will be vice presidents as well as five party leaders in the Nation Alliance should they assume power.