Turkey’s top level football back after attack break
CİHAN PhotoTurkey’s top flight football will resume with a Ziraat Turkish Cup game on April 14 following a week-long hiatus in the wake of a gun attack on the Fenerbahçe team bus.
Ankara club Gençlerbirliği will host Bursaspor in a cup quarterfinal at 19 Mayıs Stadium in the first game since the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) suspended the Spor Toto Super League and the Turkish Cup in the wake of the attack.
Unknown assailants shot at the Fenerbahçe team bus on April 5 in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, injuring the driver.
Two suspects allegedly involved in the attack were detained one day after the incident, but were later released by a court pending trial due to insufficient evidence.
Fenerbahçe has said it will not play again until the attack is resolved. It is not clear whether the club will be on the pitch for its Turkish Cup game at home against Mersin İdmanyurdu scheduled for April 16.
Two other cup quarterfinals, Manisaspor vs. Galatasaray on April 15 and Sivasspor vs. Kayserispor on April 16, are expected to be played as scheduled.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a highly unusual meeting with the captains of all of Turkey’s top flight football sides on April 12 over the status of the league.
Erdoğan hosted all 18 captains from the Super League, including Emre Belözoğlu of Fenerbahçe and Selçuk İnan of Istanbul rival Galatasaray, at the Ottoman-era Yıldız Palace in Istanbul, the presidency said in a statement.
Erdoğan made no comment after the meeting, which was closed to the media.
However Belözoğlu said Erdoğan had said such meetings should continue in the future.
“We need to be examples to our supporters off the pitch as well,” said Belözoğlu, quoted by the Fanatik sports daily.
On Fenerbahçe he said, “Our team’s morale is good. After coming through a tough period we think there are going to be good things for ourselves and Turkish football.”