Turkish League suspended for one week following attack on Fenerbahçe team bus
AA PhotoThe Turkish Football Federation has decided to suspend all first-tier Spor Toto Super League games, along with the Ziraat Turkey Cup match-ups, for one week following a gun attack on Fenerbahçe’s team bus on April 4, which left the bus driver seriously wounded.
“All club leaders demanded delaying all games for one week,” said Yıldırım Demirören, head of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), after a marathon of meetings with football officials and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç. Demirören said all club presidents were willing to respond to the attack on Fenerbahçe and Turkish football. The federation did not postpone the past week’s closing game between Beşiktaş and Istanbul Başakşehir Spor Kulübü, which was scheduled to be played last night, as the decision was only valid starting April 7.
Prosecutors launched a probe into the assault that occurred while the Yellow Canaries were heading to Trabzon to catch their Istanbul-bound plane after beating Rizespor of neighboring Rize 5-1. The probe is for allegedly attempting to kill more than one person with intent and damaging property. A shotgun and other items were found at the scene.
The bus driver, Ufuk Kıran, was reportedly struck by broken glass caused by bullets hitting the team bus’ windows, resulting in him losing control of the vehicle while proceeding along a viaduct. Serdal Kılıç, a team security official sitting next to Kıran, managed to press the brakes and prevent the bus from careening over the edge of the bridge.
Although shaken by the incident, no other Fenerbahçe players or officials suffered physical injuries in the attack. The 19-time Turkish league champion Fenerbahçe does not want to go onto the pitch until the attack is explained, the club said in a separate April 6 statement.
‘No meaning anymore’
“The Fenerbahçe sports club has fulfilled all its responsibilities in this incident and expects the probe will be finalized with similar care. We do not intend to play football until this incident is explained,” said Fenerbahçe official Deniz Tolga Aytöre during a press conference in Istanbul.
“These games have no meaning anymore. No championship and no victory are more important than human life,” he said, adding it fell upon the state to find the perpetrators. This is an assassination attempt against Fenerbahçe, he said, adding the club does not consider the incident an extension of a recent row with Trabzonspor about a debated league title in 2011 due to a rigging case, but rather as an act of terror.
Şekip Mostralıoğlu, another Fenerbahçe official, said the suspension’s duration should be limited to the resolution of the crime. Gökhan Gümüşdağ, head of the club’s union, said he was confident all suspects would be arrested. One person was detained late on April 5 in connection with the attack, authorities said April 6.