Fan club çArşı wins this game

Fan club çArşı wins this game

The Beşiktaş football fan club çArşı is a unique one with many unique acts. Its demonstrations carry small subtle messages filled with pangs of intelligence. Their cheers are humorous; their social campaigns are sentimental. For example, they went naked in the middle of winter to shiver together with Van earthquake victims. 

The court case in which çArşı is accused of trying to stage a coup against the government is equally humorous. You must have read their replies to the accusations against them in papers. A talented screenwriter could make a beautiful film out of them.

çArşı, which has been accused of becoming a terrorist organization, has the slogan “çArşı is against everything.” In 2008, it carried this slogan further to say “çArşı is also against itself.”

Well, çArşı does not have a leader or an organization chart written on paper or a computer. On the street, there are more çArşı fans than Beşiktaş fans. It has been said over and over again: çArşı is not an organization, it is a spirit. There is no membership or a code name given to you, but there are many nicknames such as “optic,” “camel” or “yellow.”

So, let’s look at the indictment. There are five major faults in the case against çArşı:

1-    The judge hearing the çArşı case is Metin Tamirci, who is the same judge who ruled for a retrial for the Chair of Fenerbahçe Football Club Aziz Yıldırım in the match-fixing case. This judge has been transferred from the peace criminal court to the high criminal court. He is known to “misunderstand” several words while appending to the record.

2-    The phone records belonging to two separate investigations opened against fans even before the Gezi protests have been included in this “coup” indictment. Moreover, there has been a court ruling about those two file tapes that they do not constitute an organization.

3-    In the prosecution against çArşı, Istanbul Anti-terror and Organized Crime Office Prosecutor Adem Meral declared “there is no organization,” but after only two weeks, he has asked for the “çArşı organizational chart” from the security department. 

4-    In the file, there is no concrete evidence about what tools the defendants used to stage a coup. The only source is transcripts from wiretapped conversations over the phone. Just imagine judge Tamirci, who had ruled for a retrial for Aziz Yıldırım on the grounds that phone taps had lost their evidential value after certain legal amendments, is now launching a trial only based on phone eavesdropping.

5-    çArşı is accused of raiding the Prime Minister’s Office at Beşiktaş in Istanbul, but the complainant police officers were on duty at Gezi Park on that date, not at Beşiktaş.

On Dec. 16, I observed the case at the court for about nine hours. I can say this as a “pre-judgment” – before anything else, the coup claims against çArşı do not seem to have convinced the panel of judges, either. I was given this impression based on their attitude during the questioning. Besides, they have not decided on any arrests, moreover, they have lifted the overseas travel bans on the defendants. Thus, Beşiktaş will not walk alone in Liverpool, never without çArşı.

I have the opinion that there is no possibility, legally, for this case to last much longer. It can only go on politically. But the political power, I think, will not support the çArşı case from now on. My guess is that they will receive minor penalties for damaging public property and the case will be closed in two or three hearings.