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TURKEY > Yıldırım reacts to ‘interviews’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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Aziz Yıldırım has drawn too much attention
after being released from prison. AFP photo

Aziz Yıldırım has drawn too much attention after being released from prison. AFP photo

Fenerbahçe chairman Aziz Yıldırım has reacted to journalists who reported his private conversations as interviews, saying he “did not target any person or an institution.”

Yıldırım, arguably the most powerful man in Turkish football, has drawn attention after being sentenced to six years and three months in prison on match-fixing charges, but was released based on time served.

“I am grateful to my friends for their kindness and interest in the last few days,” Yıldırım said. “However, it is with great sadness that I see some of the conversations I had during those friendly visits were printed as ‘news stories’ in the media. I must clarify that I did not target any person or institution in those speeches.”

Statements to come

There were several reports on Yıldırım after the Fenerbahçe chairman’s release on July 2. Earlier this week, Hürriyet columnist Ertuğrul Özkök said Yıldırım would make important press statements, with one being about prison conditions and the police. Yıldırım was also depicted as reacting to Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the religious Gülen community. Many Fenerbahçe fans have long championed the idea that the Gülen community was behind the match-fixing case, with Yıldırım claiming that it was a plot to take over the club’s chairmanship.

Yıldırım was sentenced to six years and three months in prison on match-fixing charges July 2, while fellow board members İlhan Ekşioğlu, Şekip Mosturoğlu, Tamer Yelkovan and Cemil Turan were also found guilty of manipulating several games in the 2010-2011 Turkish championship, when Fenerbahçe won the title.

July/06/2012

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