Shocking scenes in Turkey - Erdogan shocked

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.12 - 2023 8:32 AM CET

Erdogan shocked.

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Football is a major passion in Turkey.

Stadiums in the country's top league for men can hold between 30,000 and 70,000 spectators. Matches often sell out, and the atmosphere in the stands is often described as electric and acclaimed around the world.

But now the country is rocked by a major scandal - one that has even shocked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In a match between Ankaragücü and Rizespor in the Turkish top division, club president Faruk Koca of the former team stormed the pitch, reports BBC.

He then punched referee Halil Umut Meler in the face, who fell to the ground. When the referee was on the ground, he was attacked with more punches from other people.

"I condemn the attack," a very angry Erdoğan expressed afterwards, according to the television channel.

"Sport means peace and brotherhood. Sport is incompatible with violence. We will never allow violence in Turkish sport."

Taken to hospital

Halil Umut Meler, who is ranked as one of Turkey's best referees, was taken to hospital for his injuries.

The first reports suggest that he has suffered at least one fracture and a bleeding around his left eye.

The entire Turkish football league has now been suspended indefinitely.

"This attack is a shame for Turkish football," says Mehmet Büyükekşi, chairman of the Turkish Football Federation.

"We apologize to the whole world"

The attack took place after the home team Ankaragücü conceded a goal in the 97th minute, just before the match was about to be blown off.

"We apologize to the Turkish football audience and the entire sports world for the sad incident that occurred after the Caykur Rizespor match at Eryaman Stadium," the club points out.

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