Fan groups play football on construction site in protest at ODTÜ road
Outspoken fan groups against 'industrial football' showed their opposition to the controversial ODTÜ road project by playing a football match on the site. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZFan groups of clubs of Ankara and other cities held on Oct. 23 a rather unusual football game on the disputed land of the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), where the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality recently launched a highly controversial road project.
Many members of supporters' groups renowned for their fierce loyalty to their team and their opposition to “industrial football” participated in the event, including Gençlerbirliği’s Karakızıl, Ankaragücü’s Sokak, Galatasaray’s Tek Yumruk, Fenerbahçe’s Öteki 1907, Beşiktaş’s Beleştepe, Göztepe’s Viva Göztepe and Adana Demirspor’s Ankara Ekspres groups.
“We all saw what happened when it was about 3-5 trees,” the groups said in a statement, in reference to the Gezi protests that started in a park in Istanbul before spreading into nationwide demonstrations in June. “Now you are cutting 5,000 trees. Are you really ready for what’s next?"
The fans played a symbolic match on the land, with women and men mixed in both teams, after which they planted a tree in the middle of the ground. They were watched over by teams of police officers throughout.
The much-criticized road project threatens to destroy 3,000 trees in ODTÜ’s green campus, and only 600 of the trees can be replanted. The ODTÜ board had initially given the green light to the project, but expressed strong discomfort when the municipality started the construction on the evening of Oct. 18, the last night of the Feast of Sacrifice, without requesting any permission.