Turkey: Police raid Kurdish football club after cup win

February 7, 2016

Police officers from the Diyarbakir Anti-Terror Department in south-eastern Turkey raided the facilities of football club Amedspor after its 2-1 cup win at Bursapo on January 31. The win put the club, with a strong following among Turkey's persecuted Kurdish minority, into the last eight of the Turkish League Cup.

Police teams raided the offices in the Seyrantepe district of Amed (Diyarbakir) on February 2, seizing all the computers and hard-drives. According to reports, the computers were seized on the order of the local prosecutors office because of tweets “supporting terrorism” from accounts related to the club.

Amedspor spokesperson and lawyer Soran Mizrak said that the tweets were from accounts set up by supporters and had nothing to do with the club and its official account.

Amedspor Football Branch Executive Servet Erol also commented on the incident, saying: “Our official account is @Amedspor021. It is not right to hold us accountable for tweets from other accounts. How can there be a raid with this excuse? They could have easily found this out from the IP address.

“To raid the facilities at the same hour the footballers were eating is intimidation. This must be a first in history. On one hand our stadium is shut down and we are given fines and on the other we are targeted by the national media; this is a campaign to destroy us.”

The tweet in question was shared from the account @AmedsporSK and dedicated the January 31 win to the “fighters resisting in Cizre and Sur, and all the people of Kurdistan”, in reference to Turkish military assaults on the largely Kurdish districts. The tweet has since been deleted.

An investigation was also launched by the Turkish Football Association against Amedspor footballer Deniz Naki, who shared a tweet dedicating the cup win to the people who have been killed and wounded in the 24-hour curfews in the region.

More than 30 Amedspor supporters were also detained after an earlier League Cup group match with Istanbul Basaksehirspor, for singing: “Stop the death of children, they deserve to watch football too.”

The club was also given a one-match supporter ban and a 25,000 Turkish lira ($12,000) fine for having a banner that read: “We insist on peace.”

[Reprinted from Kurdish Question.]

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