Fenerbahçe chairman reiterates political plot claim in match-fixing verdict
Aziz Yıldırım has defended the idea that the case was a conspiracy. AA PhotoFenerbahçe chairman Aziz Yıldırım has given his first televised interview since a conviction for match-fixing was approved by a high court, reiterating his claim that the investigation was a plot against him and the club.
Yıldırım, who was given a six-year, three-month prison sentence for attempting to manipulate the 2010-2011 Turkish league championship and forming an unarmed gang, has long defended the idea that the case was a conspiracy.
“I have said in prison that a group was trying to take over Fenerbahçe. That was the [Gülen] community,” Yıldırım said, referring to Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement. “I did not have fear and said: ‘The country is going down the drain. This is not a match-fixing case.’ I said it was a political case.”
Yıldırım’s statements were then echoed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said the Gülen movement, which is believed to have influence within the police and the judiciary, was behind the graft probe that hit several of his allies.
Yıldırım, however, said he had received a phone call from Gülen in 2012 and was told the Islamic scholar had no ill feelings toward him.
The Fenerbahçe chairman said there could be some people from the lower ranks of the Gülen movement that allegedly launched the rigging probe.
“We asked people from the Gülen movement; they said they were not involved. We asked the government and said they were not involved,” Yıldırım said. “So I think it was Gladio,” he said, referring to the NATO stay-behind network of the deep state that emerged after World War II.