Turkish politicians pay tribute to late boxing legend Ali

Turkish politicians pay tribute to late boxing legend Ali

Turkish politicians pay tribute to late boxing legend Ali

In this May 25, 1965, file photo, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is held back by referee Joe Walcott, left, after Ali knocked out challenger Sonny Liston in the first round of their title fight in Lewiston, Maine. AP photo

Turkish politicians have joined millions of fans and admirers all around the world to hail legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who has died at the age of 74.     

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted that Ali “remained an inspiration for thousands of people through his sporting ethics and faith.”

A statement released by a family spokesperson on June 3 night said Ali died. Ali had been suffering from respiratory issues this week, apparently related to his Parkinson's disease, and was hospitalized in Arizona.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), highlighted Ali's stand against injustice and unfairness. 

“He was not only a legendary boxer, but an exemplary person with his stance against injustice. May you rest in peace, Muhammad Ali,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, the co-chairs of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), recalled Ali’s stand on the Vietnam War with great respect.

“Muhammad Ali was a model sportsperson, not only with his idiosyncratic technique, but at the same time with his stand, that has been decent, humanely and peaceful side of which has been strong, and which all sportspeople should have,” Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ said, expressing “deep sadness” over the loss of Ali.

“During days when the U.S. was attacking Vietnam and its people with its all state organizations, powers and propaganda tools, he didn’t keep silent. He refused to join and army and fight against Vietnam. With his remark as saying ‘Man, I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No Vietcong ever called me nigger,’ and risking his sportive career, he will always live in our memories and soul,” Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ said in a written statement.

“We wish God's mercy to him and express our sympathy to the entire sports society, his family and relatives being in the first placed, with our wishes that the sports and peace ethics which Muhammad Ali has represented prevails in the face of gradually rising chauvinism and racism in our country’s sports,” they said.