Kurdish football team met with army operations footage, violence in Turkish city

A Turkish host team welcomed Amedspor with Ottoman war songs, ultra-nationalist slogans, military might videos, and physical violence.
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Amedspor, a football team hailing from the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, was attacked in the northwestern Turkish city of Sakarya on Saturday night as it faced the local team in Turkey’s Second League.

The team’s footballers and coach were assaulted by a mob of rival team’s supporters at the pitch during the match and then later in the dressing room.

Amedspor released videos of those moments on its social media accounts. It reported no injuries but said in a media statement that its coach Serdac Kucukbayrak was kicked.

There were also members of Sakaryaspor’s security involved in the verbal and physical attack, as police officers were seen pushing Amedspor’s footballers into the dressing room, apparently to end the scuffle.

On the digital scoreboard, before the game began, footage of Turkish military operations against Kurdish rebels was shown with audio of Ottoman war songs and ultra-nationalist slogans playing in the background.

Helicopters, tanks, armored vehicles, and soldiers operating in the Kurdish region were showcased in the video.

Amedspor’s Chair Nurullah Edemen condemned the conduct by the host team Sakaryaspor and its fans, calling it “an ugly, disgusting and immoral nationalistic” attitude.

He called on the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to take action against Sakaryaspor.

There was no comment by the TFF.

Sakaryaspor won the game 2-0. The city’s security authorities banned Amedspor fans from watching the match.

Amedspor has been the target of dozens of attacks by Turkish hooligans in the past several years.

Police raided the team’s headquarters in 2016 during a phase of urban warfare between Kurdish rebels and Turkish government forces in several provinces.

One of its players, German-Kurdish striker Deniz Naki frequently came under attacks by racists in Turkey and was detained by police at least once on the grounds of insulting President Tayyip Erdogan. The TFF also banned him for his vocal criticism of the Ankara government before he left the country this year.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany