Turkish football club stuck in Israeli airport

Turkish football club stuck in Israeli airport

ISTANBUL- Anadolu Agency
Turkish football club stuck in Israeli airport

Turkish football club Demir Grup Sivasspor were stranded at an airport in Israel on their way back to Turkey, the team said early on Dec. 11. 

“Our group, preparing to return to Sivas after the Maccabi Tel-Aviv match, is stuck in the airport. The Israeli authorities are creating all kinds of difficulties for our group by closing the [electronic] system and crossings,” the team said on its social media account, sharing a video from the airport.

The video shows the group waiting at the airport in Tel Aviv. Mecnun Otyakmaz, the football club’s chairman, and club officials protested to Israeli officers with applause.

"They said the automatic pass system was malfunctioning. They tried to process things manually. There is only one officer," Otyakmaz told Anadolu Agency.

"We’ve been stuck here for two hours. The treatment has been very uncomfortable," he said, adding they are waiting patiently and calmly.

“We came from the stadium very quickly to let the plane take off early,” he added.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lior Haiat said the Sivasspor delegation was held at Ben Gurion Airport as they arrived late.

Haiat told Anadolu Agency that the plane will take off at 5.30 a.m. (0630 Turkish local time). 

Asked why the flight will be delayed until that time, he said no flights are allowed at the airport between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. due to noise at night.

“The statement on our team’s late arrival is completely false. Our group entered the airport ahead of time. Israeli officials are solely responsible for the loss of time,” the team said in a statement.

"A single officer started carrying out all passport transactions of our group of 43 people. When our group reacted to this, the employee slowed down the process. After all passport procedures were finished, our group was put on two separate airport buses to be taken to the plane,” it said. 

The buses could reach the plane in just a few minutes. The bus driver stopped the vehicle and waited for a while and did not answer the questions of our group. After all these planned difficulties, our team was put on the plane,” it added.