Cizrespor, a football team representing the southeastern province of Şırnak's Cizre district, has withdrawn from the league citing ongoing discrimination against the club.
The club, which competes in the third league of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), said in a social media post that it can no longer withstand the “injustices” of the TFF and and the Central Referee Committee (MHK).
“Due to the injustices that we have faced at both home and rival games, in the face of the referees' racist and nationalist stance, we are withdrawing our team Cizrespor from the league with a decision of our chairman Maruf Sevinç,” said the statement.
The club made its official withdrawal application to the TFF on Feb. 3.
Sevinç said in an interview to online Independent Türkçe that whenever football teams from the eastern provinces show signs of success, they are “blocked” from going any further by the referees. “We do not know if referees are malevolent or are just doing mistake, but since we do not want to be in such an unfair race, we are withdrawing from the league,” he said.
Sefinç said that not just them, but also Amedspor, the flagship team of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, faces a similar discriminatory stance. He said that players of football teams from the eastern provinces have been attacked in many occasions when they play in the fields of rival teams.
Amedspor chairman Metin Kılavuz issued a statement regarding the decision of Cizrespor to withdraw from the league, saying: “There is no longer a Cizrespor to whom you can blow an unfair whistle and for which you can draft a report with your unjust pens [referring to the referees].”
Kılavuz said that rival supporters have many times welcomed Amedspor players with military salutes and nationalist slogans and this was also the case for Cizrespor.
“There is no longer a Cizrespor for which you can welcome with anthems and racist slogans and implement violence on,” said Kılavuz on his social media account.
He concluded his statement by saying “Her biji [Long live] Cizrespor. Cizrespor is Amedspor.”