Erdoğan chides Turkish fans for disrespecting Greece’s national anthem

Erdoğan chides Turkish fans for disrespecting Greece’s national anthem

Erdoğan chides Turkish fans for disrespecting Greece’s national anthem President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has voiced his disapproval at the behavior of some sections of the Turkish support during a Nov. 17 football friendly against Greece in Istanbul, criticizing them for jeering the visitors’ national anthem.

“It is incredible. We are not a nation that is intolerant to the extent of not being able to display respect to the national anthem of a country. There is no such thing in the genes of this nation. How would we regard it if others had done the same to us?” Erdoğan asked in an interview on ATV and A Haber late on Nov. 18. 

The friendly at Başakşehir’s Fatih Terim Stadium was attended by both visiting Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, was overshadowed after some Turkish fans booed the Greek national anthem and then a subsequent minute of silence for the victims of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.

Erdoğan did not touch on the minute of silence, focusing instead on respecting the national anthems of other countries.

“The Turkish nation wouldn’t behave like this to its guests, no matter who they are,” he said. 

During the match late on Nov. 17, fans chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), booed the Greek team and also shouted nationalist slogans and other slogans in favor of Erdoğan at the match, an AFP photographer said. Turkish football fans regularly shout nationalist slogans at matches and it was not immediately clear if the behavior was more aimed at historic rivals Greece rather than support for the Islamist assailants in Paris.

The game ended in a goalless draw. At a qualifying match for next year’s Euro 2016 football championship in the Central Anatolian province of Konya last month, supporters also shouted “Allahu Akbar” during a moment of silence commemorating the 100 victims of the twin suicide bombings in Ankara blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).