Re-elected as Fener’s chair, jailed Yıldırım reshapes board
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Fener’sjailed chair Yıldırım makes major board reshuffle. Hürriyet PhotoFenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım introduced a major shuffle when extending his term at the Istanbul sports club.
Yıldırım, who is jailed pending charges as part of an ongoing football match-fixing case, entered yesterday’s presidential elections as the only candidate and started a new three-year period as the Fenerbahçe chair. However, he made some crucial changes to the club board.
Six people, including influential figures such as vice chairman Nihat Özdemir, Ali Koç and Cihan Kamer, were left out of the board. İlhan Ekşioğlu and Şekip Mosturoğlu, who were banned from football for three years and one year respectively by the Turkish Football Federation for their involvement in match fixing, kept their seats on the board.
Hüseyin Ersan Topbaş, Ahmet Ketenci and Talat Yılmaz are three interesting figures among the fresh faces on the Fenerbahçe board.
The former two are openly close to the government, with Hüseyin Ersan Topbaş being the son of Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, while Ahmet Ketenci is the brother of Sema Erdoğan, the wife of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son, Ahmet Burak Erdoğan.
Talat Yılmaz, the former head of the Turkish Red Crescent, is also on the Turkish Football Federation board. He also on Saturday controversially dismissed claims that the match-fixing case was plotted by the Fethullah Gülen Community, who was willing to take over the club. Many Fenerbahçe fans have championed the idea since July 2011, and staged protests with banners against the Gülen Community.
“Do not think about those claims about the [Gülen] community or the government,” Yılmaz said at the Fenerbahçe congress on Saturday. “Do not believe anything but the club’s website or television channel.”
Yıldırım has also repeatedly claimed the match-fixing case aimed to take over the club, but has never name checked the Gülen Community.
Özdemir and Koç were the two officials that stepped up to lead the club since Yıldırım was jailed in Metris Prison in early July.
Prominent Fenerbahçe fan groups have released several statements criticizing Özdemir over the last year for the vice chairman’s reluctance to support to those groups holding street protests and calling them “marginal groups.”
Koç, however, was arguably the most popular figure on the Fenerbahçe board after the “July 3 process,” for his statements against the Turkish Football Federation and UEFA for barring the club from play in last year’s Champions League.
Koç, who is a member of the one of Turkey’s wealthiest families, said he was the one who requested Yıldırım be left out of the new board, and cited “family reasons” for being left out.
Fans getting political for the first time
ISTANBUL - Radikal
Most Fenerbahçe fans have been being politicized for the first time in their lives, due to the football match-fixing case. Fenerbahçe fans’ mounting anger exploded last week after the riots at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium when the team lost the title to archrival Galatasaray.
“There are many people that have never confronted people, for the first time they have challenged the system,” said one of the anonymous members from fan groups, Vamos Bien, Unifeb and CK, to the daily Radikal.
Fener fans have staged several street rallies since July 2011, when the club’s five officials, including president Aziz Yıldırım, were jailed pending charges, with the idea that the case was opened to take over the coveted chair of the club. Fethullah Gülen’s community plotting the case for taking over the club was a popular idea.
“We have not woken up just one day and said Gülen Community did it,” a fan said. “That perception was realized gradually, looking at who wrote what about that.”