Jailed Fener chair says he ‘lost trust in the state’

Jailed Fener chair says he ‘lost trust in the state’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Jailed Fener chair says he ‘lost trust in the state’

Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım has been in jail pending match-fixing charges since July 2011. Hürriyet photo, Emre Oktay

Fenerbahçe’s jailed president Aziz Yıldırım said he has “no trust for the state anymore” yesterday during his defense hearing in the match-fixing case.

Yıldırım made his defense yesterday at the football match-fixing case’s 20th hearing in Istanbul’s courthouse. Yıldırım is the highest profile name in the ongoing investigation of allegedly manipulated games in the 2010-2011 Turkish championship.

“I used to trust the state but I have no trust for the state anymore,” said Yıldırım, who has been jailed pending charges since July 2011. “After seeing the prison, I don’t trust the state. There are people held in jail for 50 Turkish liras. I think they do not trust the state, either.”

Yıldırım is one of the 93 officials, players and coaches charged with manipulating games in the 2010-2011 Spor Toto Super League season, which ended in Fenerbahçe winning the title over Trabzonspor only on goal difference.

‘Case is a plot’

Yıldırım has long championed the idea that the case was a plot to take over the coveted Fenerbahçe seat.

“The Republic of Fenerbahçe has developed side by side with the Turkish Republic. It has been representing Turkish youth following [founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk for decades,” Yıldırım said earlier this year during his first defense hearing in the match-fixing case. “That is the reason why there are efforts to damage [the club].”

The case is expected to have come to a close after this week’s fourth hearing takes place on June 29.
The prosecutor in the case issued his final opinion in the case June 1, demanding jail time for 21 players and officials for their alleged role in last season’s rigging scandal.

Ufuk Ermertcan sought prison terms for several members of Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor, as well as players from Eskişehirspor, Sivasspor, Gençlerbirliği and Bursaspor. Two officials from Beşiktaş are also listed as suspects for their alleged attempts to manipulate the team’s 2011 Ziraat Turkish Cup victory over Istanbul BB.

Case nearing the end

Head judge Mehmet Ekinci is expected to make his verdicts on the case June 29.

According to Ermertcan’s opinion, Yıldırım should be punished for 14 to 39 years and nine months for fixing six matches, paying incentives to three teams and forming an illegal organization to gain unjust income.

Yıldırım rejected the claims yesterday, as he has done since his first testimony. The Fenerbahçe chairman also argued with Trabzonspor lawyer Nusret Yılmaz.

“Everyone should know, it is Aziz Yıldırım, who turned Trabzonspor into a big club,” Yıldırım said. “Trabzonspor was not a big club, there were the big three [Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş] and I turned Trabzonspor to the fourth big [club]. Trabzonspor rose to that position after my help in getting them a bigger income in the broadcasting deals.”