Turkey: Five detained after waving KRI flags in football match

Turkey: Five detained after waving KRI flags in football match
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Amedspor supporters waved flags of Kurdistan Region of Iraq to celebrate their victory against Bursaspor in the city of Diyarbakir

At least 5 people were detained on Monday for unfurling the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) flag during a match played in Turkey’s Kurdish majority city of Diyarbakir last night.

Turkey announced late Sunday that it launched a probe into the “provocative” actions of supporters of Amedspor who waved the KRI flag in celebration of their team’s victory earlier in the night.

Diyarbakir-based Amedspor won against Bursaspor with a victory of 2-0, climbing up to the seventh place on the table.

As the match played out on the field, Amedspor supporters were seen waving the KRI flag and holding up pictures of Mahsa Amini, who was killed in custody by morality police in Iran. 

Turkish interior ministry posted a tweet that said “Those who want to poison sports with provocative content will not be given the opportunity under any circumstances,” following the match.

The tweet said that “necessary interventions” were made against the supporters and an investigation was initiated.

The statement from the interior ministry sparked controversy among the Kurdish community online, as well as a number of Turkish officials.

“The Kurdistan Regional Government is a constitutional part of Iraq. Why should a flag be a crime when the authorities come from there?” said Kani Torun, the Secretary-General of the right-leaning Future Party.