Attacks against Kurdish team encouraged by official inaction

Attacks against Kurdish team encouraged by official inaction
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The chair of Diyarbakir Bar Association has accused authorities of encouraging further disturbance by not taking necessary measures when events started before the football game in Bursa.

After the Kurdish football team of Amedspor was targeted by racist insults and harassment in Tukey's western city of Bursa before and during a football game on Sunday, the chairs of the bar associations of both Amedspor's hometown Diyarbakir and Bursa released statements to condemn the events.

Nahit Eren, the chair of Diyarbakir Bar Association said that it was the lack of action on the part of authorities before the game that led to further disturbance during the game.

He said:

"The players and other team members of Amedspor were subjected to the insults, threats and hateful racist remarks of a group who gathered outside the hotel the team was staying, and public officials failed to take precautionary measures against such actions in which firecrackers were also used. Subsequently, neither has the judiciary launched any legal action against perpetrators, nor have the authorities made any public statement to express their reaction to the events, or to announce measures. The grave attacks and events during the game the following day, which constitute criminal offenses, were encouraged by this inaction."

Bursa Bar Association said in a written statement that they contacted the public prosecutor's office before the game, warned it about "possible provocations" and called for measures to prevent possible violent incidents, and that "they were assured that all necessary measures have been taken."

"Despite all this, posters were raised in the arena by some people who do not represent our city of Bursa or our Bursaspor; posters which allude to the extrajudicial killings of the dark 1990s. We want to express our strong disapproval of such actions by some individuals against a visitor arriving from the earthquake zone, in days when our nation so much needs to be in solidarity because of the disaster. We condemn these provocations and violent actions, which are totally unacceptable in any situation, and want everybody to be aware that we will be engaged in legal actions."

The football team of Amedspor, the most popular Kurdish team in Turkey, was harassed upon its arrival in Bursa on Saturday by a group who chanted racist slogans outside the hotel the team was staying.

The following day, some players of rival Bursaspor made an attempt to start a fight with Amedspor's players before the game. Later during the game the poster of a white Renault station wagon, the type of car known to have been widely used in covert operations of state forces in 1990's to abduct and disappear Kurdish political activists, and the poster of notorious Mahmut Yildirim - codename Yesil - who went missing after he has been accused of murdering many Kurdish political activists in extrajudicial killings, were raised by some Bursaspor fans.