Turkey arrests 10 footbal fans over holding banner in support of hunger-striking educators

Turkish government has arrested 10 football fans of Beşiktaş football club, who held a banner saying “Let’s Nuriye and Semih To Live” in a show of solidarity with hunger striking educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça during a match between Beşiktaş and Konyaspor football teams, in Samsun on Wednesday, reported by BirGün daily. Another Beşiktaş fan was released by the same court with judicial probation.

Following the detention warrants issued by Samsun Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 17 football fans over their banner, police teams have detained 11 people on early Wednesday morning. In the statement of the Samsun Chief Prosecutor Office, hunger striking educators Gülmen and Özkakça, who are on the 161st day of a hunger strike, were showed as members of the leftist terror organization Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C). So, the banner held by the Beşiktaş fans was presented as evidence of ‘terror propaganda.’

A major brawl had taken place between the fans in the stadium in Samsun as the Konyaspor supporters called the other Beşiktaş fans as ‘terrorists’ during the Beşiktaş-Konyaspor match. Later, an investigation into the brawl was started by the Interior Ministry. However, the Konyaspor fans who had appeared in photos with knives and guns were not sought after by the security, while the banner held by Beşiktaş supporters led the fans to get arrested.

Academician Nuriye Gülmen was fired from Konya Selçuk University by a government decree under the rule of emergency declared by Turkish government in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 for her alleged ties to the faith-based Gülen movement. Semih Özakça was a teacher at a primary school in Turkey’s eastern province of Mardin before he was purged over ties to an alleged terrorist organization. The two protested for months in the same area of Ankara before they started their hunger strike. Both were detained several times due to their protests and arrested on terror charges in May.

Gülmen and Özakça were on a hunger strike demanding reinstatement to their jobs when they were arrested on terror charges on May 23 in Ankara. Gülmen and Özakça have left behind the 120th day of the righteous resistance they started by risking their lives.

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