Turkish government to ban political slogans in football games

Turkish government to ban political slogans in football games

Turkish government to ban political slogans in football games

DAILY NEWS Photo, Emrah Gürel

Supporters will be banned from chanting political slogans during next year’s football games, Turkey’s interior minister has said as the government attempts to grapple with politicized fans in the wake of this summer’s Gezi Park protests.

“We are adding bad political and ideological slogans to the list of illegal demonstrations in football stands, or behavior not complying with sporting ethics,” Muammer Güler said ahead of a
 workshop on “Security in Sports Events.” “They are already banned by international rules as well.”

Güler’s statement came in the midst of a summer where Turkey’s football fans have discovered their impact on the political stage. Fans of bitter rivals, including Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, together joined the Gezi Park protests, which turned into nationwide anti-government rallies after a heavy-handed police crackdown on a sit-in against a city renovation plan in Istanbul.

Beşiktaş, whose leading fan group, çArşı, played a huge role in clashes with the police, will play its home games at the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Stadium of Kasımpaşa during the İnönü Stadium’s renovation process. Amid concerns about whether fans from differing political views will clash before and after games, a report has emerged that Beşiktaş is requiring fans to sign a document when purchasing their season tickets that bars them from any political chants. The document said the club had the right to cancel season tickets in the event of such behavior. The club said the document was unchanged from last year.

“Clubs have [their fans] signed necessary documents during the season ticket sales. Of course, we are following this,” Güler said.

The minister said the restrictions, which were first listed in Law No. 6222, which is widely known as the “Law on Violence in Sports,” which went into effect in 2011, are “about any slogans exceeding the limits of sports.”

“It is clear that political and ideological slogans do not comply with sport’s spirit,” Güler said. “That includes profanity or non-sporting behavior. The rules are related to all of those.”