A criminal court in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed) has admitted a case against 19 supporters of the city’s football club for insulting the Turkish national anthem, Mezopotamya News Agency reported on Saturday.
The 19 fans of Turkey’s most popular Kurdish football club did not stand as required while the Turkish anthem was being played at the beginning of a football match against Istanbul’s Pendikspor on 7 May, according to a one-page indictment prepared by prosecutors.
The indictment includes the statements of the 19 Amedspor fans, as well as an official report prepared after the football match.
It charges that the Kurdish football fans consciously and willingly failed to stand, and, not suffering from medical problems to prevent them from doing so, have therefore insulted one of the symbols of state sovereignty.
The Kurdish-majority city’s football club was founded in 1990, but was rebranded as Amedspor, and the team adopted uniforms in the Kurdish national colours of red, yellow and green only in 2014, while a peace process was underway between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). At the time the Turkish Football Federation subjected the club to a 10,000 Turkish Lira fine for taking an “unapproved name.”
Since the collapse of the peace process in 2015, the club’s players and supporters have frequently been targeted both by fans of opposing teams and by the Turkish authorities.