Kurdish football team in Turkey faces racist attacks and policies, MP says

“Sports has been polarized, and political violence is now in the football stands,” he said.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Prominent Kurdish football team Amedspor SK has been bracing attacks by hooligans, fines, bans, and discrimination by authorities, a lawmaker told the Turkish Parliament on Wednesday.

“There are currently 32 Amedspor fans being tried at heavy penal criminal courts,” pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Imam Tascier, a representative for the city of Diyarbakir where he and the team hail from, said.

The fans were charged with “terror propaganda” for holding a banner in commemoration of 13-year-old Ugur Kaymaz who police killed alongside his father Ahmet in Mardin during an operation in 2004.

Speaking on the phone to Kurdistan 24, Tascier said the team’s fans were also barred by local authorities in Turkish provinces from entering stadiums.

“The governors say we cannot guarantee their safety. I believe they do not want to,” he said.

“Hooligans call Amedspor PKK’s team when they go to Anatolia,” Tascier added.

Tascier accused authorities of following a racist policy and unwillingness to cooperate with the Kurdish team’s requests for the security of its players and fans.

“Sports should bring people together, not divide them,” he told the Parliament.

When asked if he had raised the issue with the Minister of Sports or the Prime Minister, the HDP lawmaker said they would not answer.

“Sports has been polarized, and political violence is now in the football stands,” he said.

In August, during a match in the city of Mersin, a fan attacked Amedspor’s high-profile midfielder Deniz Naki, punching and throwing him to the ground unexpectedly.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany