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Fenerbahce will play without fans in next match after anti-govt chants

Turkish authorities said Tuesday that Istanbul football club Fenerbahce would play this weekend’s away match without its fans after spectators chanted “government, resign” following the devastating earthquake that struck earlier this month. 

On Saturday, thousands of Fenerbahce fans took up the chant to protest the government’s response to the February 6 earthquake that killed over 44,000 people in Turkey.

“Twenty years of lies and cheating, resign,” the fans yelled during their club’s 4-0 win over Konyaspor.

The next day, Besiktas fans also called on the Turkish government to resign in terrace chants, throwing hundreds of soft toys onto the pitch in memory of child victims of the disaster. 

A security commission in the central province of Kayseri, where Fenerbahce will play against the city’s football club on Saturday, said the away game would be played “without the club’s fans”.

They made no mention of the anti-government chants.

Fenerbahce denounced an “unacceptable” ruling, calling it “an awkward decision that does not match any sportive criteria”. 

“It means nothing other than to punish the club and prevent our fans’ aspirations to back their team,” it added in a statement, urging the authorities to revise their decision. 

Opponents of the Turkish government have criticised what they call an inadequate and slow response by the authorities to the quake and its aftermath.

The disaster is set to loom large in presidential and parliamentary elections due to take place on May 14.

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