Gülen probe launched into Galatasaray’s ‘Rocky’ poster
Prosecutors have launched an investigation after fans of Istanbul’s Galatasaray football team unfurled a giant poster ahead of a match on Oct. 22, amid claims that the contains a “subliminal message” from the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Just before the match between Galatasaray and local rivals Fenerbahçe kicked off, home fans opened a giant red and yellow poster behind the goal showing Sylvester Stallone’s fictional boxer “Rocky,” along with a caption in Turkish: “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.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Oct. 23 ordered the authorities to carry out an investigation into the poster, sources from his office stated.
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 red-handed 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 video footage of the poster on his Twitter and Instagram accounts on Oct. 23, writing: “Recently posted from a huge soccer game in Turkey!!”
Current league leaders Galatasaray are Turkey’s most decorated football club, with 20 league championships. It also became the first Turkish club to win a major European trophy when it won the 2000 UEFA Cup, the predecessor to the Europa League.