Istanbul club match-fixing case restarts after nine years

Istanbul club match-fixing case restarts after nine years

Istanbul club match-fixing case restarts after nine years

A case that embroiled one of Turkey’s largest football clubs and imprisoned its president to six years in prison for match-fixing in 2011 restarted on July 16 in an Istanbul court.

The case was opened in 2011 by prosecution and judicial members linked to FETÖ, which was behind a coup attempt in July 2016, against Aziz Yıldırım, then president of Fenerbahçe, sentencing him to six years in prison nine years ago.

Yıldırım, who led the club for two decades, and Ali Koç, the current president of Fenerbahçe, attended the first hearing of the case.

“This was never a case of match-fixing. It was part of FETÖ’s project to capture the state,” said Yıldırım, demanding his acquittal.

“Even if they drag us to the scaffold, our last word will be Fenerbahçe.”

Turkish football at the time was beleaguered by the match-fixing scandal, as Fenerbahçe was accused of spearheading it and was later banned from playing in European competitions for two seasons. Yıldırım spent a year behind bars and was charged with match-fixing and forming an illegal organization.

The lawsuit was called the “July 3 case.” After the coup attempt in 2016, which killed 251 people and injured nearly 2,200, the case reversed.

The prosecutors and judges of the case fled the country. The Istanbul court yesterday accepted unanimously a Supreme Court decision to drop the case to restart it.

The next hearing into the case will be held on Nov. 6.