Galatasaray supporters’ group leader testifies over ‘Rocky’ poster
Sebahattin Şirin, one of the leading figures of the Galatasaray football team supporters’ group “UltrAslan,” has submitted a statement to inspectors after authorities launched an investigation into a giant poster unfurled by the team’s fans ahead of a match on Oct. 22, media reports said on Oct. 26.
The authorities’ move came following claims that the poster showing Sylvester Stallone’s fictional boxer “Rocky” along with a caption contained a “subliminal message” from the U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen.
Upon the investigation, Şirin and the UltrAslan responsible for universities, were reported to have testified to inspectors.
The investigation was launched when Galatasaray fans unfurled the poster before the match with local rivals Fenerbahçe. A caption read “Stand up. They look big because you are kneeling.”
Claims subsequently linked the banner with a poem, “Stand up, Sakarya,” which was read by Gülen during a sermon earlier this month.
In a statement, Galatasaray said the accusations were “a pathetic attempt” to discredit the club, adding that the same poster was used at a match in May.
“We will use all our legal rights against any institution, person or social media account that tries to put the name of Galatasaray alongside that of the leader of the heinous terrorist organization,” the club stated on its website.
The movement of the Pennsylvania-based Gülen is widely believed to have been behind the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Meanwhile, Stallone himself shared a video footage of the poster on his Twitter and Instagram accounts on Oct. 23, writing: “Recently posted from a huge soccer game in Turkey!!”