Back to Amed

A 12-match ban.

The decision is historical, clearly out of proportion. But the subject is not a character as the others, too. Deniz Naki, the “Pirate” right from the nonconformist side of Hamburg, St Pauli: icon of an alternative style, he’s always a man beyond rules. His goal against Bursaspor, some days ago, gifted Amed Sportif Faaliyetler the most important victory of their story, by eliminating one of the 5 clubs ‘with a title’ in Turkey.

It’s the first triumph after the club’s name change last summer: back home to Diyarbakır/Amed, Deniz Naki and Amed SK were greeted by a large crowd.

Joy: a feeling that in the Turkish South-East contrasts with the PKK barricades and the army’s raids in some towns’ districts. Clashes, conflicts in which common people get hurt by the indiscriminate fire of both sides: whole districts destroyed, curfews beyond ‘legal’ meaning, retaliations and bombs also towards police or soldiers. Thousands of dead people on both sides, with civilians tragically in the middle. All of this while the pro-Kurdish Party HDP is in the parliament, a conciliatory and modern signal of a country that sometimes tries to cope with democracy.
PKK has a different kind of message instead.

The barricade is here,

the fans of Amed SK were chanting in Istanbul, on the 28th of January. Başakşehir’s striker Semih Şentürk answered with a military salute: 30 Amed fans were clearly referring to the clashes in the South-East and they knew it.

A obvious (and aware) violation of one of the most contested articles of the Turkish sports justice, that expects the ban of some areas or even whole stadiums in case of “messages of any political or discriminatory nature” exposed or sang during a football match.

In Italy the theme already arrived on many newspaper in 2013, when Eboué and Drogba were referred to the Control Board due to “Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela” messages: zero tolerance, that was politics too.
The two Ivorian players weren’t neither banned nor summoned but the news already spread around the world, giving a questionable and distorted view of the anyway imperfect and controversial Turkish Federation.

Keep politics out of football,

the Federation’s diktat, in a country full of contrasting trends and diversities sometimes irreconciliable, sometimes abused. Even pro-Atatürk slogans were banned, in spite of local supporters’ protest. Now Fenerbahçe arrives to Diyarbakır/Amed and the attention of international media, Italian too, is suddenly interested in the South-Eastern Turkish red-and-green club.

Merit, or fault, of a Twitter account. A police raid in Amed SK’s headquarters caught the headlines thanks to a Tweet supporting PKK activities; it did not come from an official account of the club, that finally clarified the confusion about their social network. The Twitter account is @Amedspor021, the others are not official. That’s all, it could sound less romantic than predicted but the blitz ended up with no significant aftermath.

As the question about the stadium: the PDFK (sports control board) ban against Amed was already effective before the Bursaspor game. Amed supporters in fact could not travel to Bursa, as they were banned because of the “political messages” chants in Istanbul and because of the high risk of clashes between two opposite ultras groups.
Another rumour was denied, regarding the possibility of playing the match in Şanlıurfa, many kms from Amed.
The match will be played in Diyarbakır/Amed, probably behind closed doors, also because of security reasons: the stadium is tiny and outdated, the match against Fenerbahçe brings many questions because of the local structures and also of the clashes that may happen between groups of supporters of the “Atatürk club”, rival, also through a political meaning, of the Barikat.

Atatürk e i fan del Fenerbahçe | Fenerbahçe fans' display of Atatürk.

Fenerbahçe fans’ display of Atatürk.

The Diyarbakır memories in Süper Lig are a mix of disorganization and violence: a stone on the linesman’s head in 2010 has yet to be forgotten in Turkey.

“Controversial” is the right word for Deniz Naki‘s situation: he knew he was violating one of the sports control board rules and he did it anyway, but the message

We dedicate the victory to the ones who lost their lives and to the wounded during our land’s repression that lasts since more than 50 days. We are proud to be the light of our people! Her bijî Azadî (“Long live freedom” in Kurdish language, nda)!

honestly does not seem to deserve a 12-match ban. Well, the Pirate. He will be the great absentee of the match, because of the famous rule that expects bans, also heavy ones, for whoever makes “ideological propaganda”.
And if Bursa, in spite of all, gave us a sports miracle last week, the script unexpectedly brings one of the main characters out of the film’s following part. Now Amed SK, whose property is municipal and in this case of the HD Party, threaten to withdraw the team from the match, as said by Nurullah Edemen, the club’s Vice-President. A strong political message, that has nothing to do with football. Once again.