Turkish national team sponsor denies responsibility for pro-Gezi basketball star’s dropping
A regular member of the “12 Giant Men,” Cenk Akyol played a key role in the Lions’ success this season, averaging 9.2 points.The Turkish national basketball team’s main sponsor has rejected claims that it played a role in the snubbing of guard Cenk Akyol, amid rumors that the Galatasaray player’s stance in favor of the Gezi Park protests led to his omission.
Garanti Bank released a statement denying that it forced coach Bogdan Tanjevic to drop Akyol, who last month refused to speak to television channel NTV, which belongs to the same business group as the bank.
“We inform that player selection is completely made by the technical staff, and Garanti Bank is in no way involved in the process,” a statement from the bank said.
After the national team squad for the 2013 EuroBasket competition was announced on July 10, rumors spread that it was not his performances, but rather the recent NTV controversy that led to the 26-year-old not being selected.
Akyol refused to speak to NTV after the deciding game of the Beko Basketball League Final last month, in a move that was seen as a reaction to the broadcaster’s much-criticized coverage on the Gezi Park protests. Akyol had picked the NTV microphone from a pile of microphones during an interview and said he would not respond to questions if the channel’s microphone was there.
Turkish basketballer Akyol dropped from national team squad amid Gezi Park controversy
Turkey announced its EuroBasket squad, but the omission of Galatasaray guard Cenk Akyol created the biggest controversy.
Rumors started that it was not the 26-year-old’s performance, but a recent controversy that played a role in the decision.
Team manager Harun Erdenay claimed that it was a problem between coach Bogdan Tanjevic and Akyol, however Galatasaray issued a statement seeking “a satisfactory explanation.”
A regular member of the “12 Giant Men,” Akyol played a key role in the Lions’ success this season, averaging 9.2 points.
Anadolu Efes’ Sinan Güler supported Akyol. “I hope the reason is not what people have been talking about,” Güler tweeted. “He had a good season and deserved it more than anyone else.”