Turkish footballers brandish pro-Palestine banners at weekend matches
Turkish footballers and fans have voiced support for Palestine after U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Players of both Galatasaray and Akhisarspor held up a banner reading “Jerusalem is our red line” as they stepped onto the field at the Turk Telekom Stadium in Istanbul late on Dec. 9.
Galatasaray’s fans also unfurled banners reading: “If Jerusalem is not free, the world remains captive” and “Jerusalem is Qiblah, Jerusalem is Miraj,” referring to the Muslims’ first direction of prayers.
On the pitch, a second half comeback saw Galatasaray defeat Akhisarspor 4-2.
Earlier, the players of Adanaspor and Elazığspor also held up a banner reading the same message ahead of their second-tier game.
In the southeastern province of Gaziantep, the same league saw Gazişehir Gaziantep and MKE Ankaragücü players stepping on the field with the same pro-Palestine banner.
Fenerbahçe defeated Bursaspor 1-0 in Bursa on Dec. 8 in the opening match of week 15, which began with a similar message from both teams.
The moves came after the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) requested all clubs playing in the Super League, 1st League, 2nd League and 3rd League to open Jerusalem banners while coming out onto the field before the beginning of their matches this week.
Barcelona’s Turkish international midfielder Arda Turan, meanwhile, condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision on Instagram.
“Jerusalem will always remain as the capital of peace and humanity! Put your guns away!” Turan wrote.