18 January 2015
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s illiberal policies have targeted the media, the judiciary, the police, militant football fans, and anti-government protesters. Now they threaten to claim yet another victim: the game of football itself.
In a major blow to troubled Turkish football, Yildiz Holding, a conservative conglomerate known for its confectionary and biscuit business and close ties to Erdogan, and which is one of Turkey’s largest sponsors of football, said in a letter to the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) that it would no longer fund the sport because of violence and tensions associated with it and government efforts to politically control the beautiful game.
The company’s reference to tensions was not simply a reference to stadium incidents but also to Erdogan’s interference in a match-fixing scandal, attempts to depoliticise stadia, and legal proceedings against members of Carsi, the militant support group of storied Istanbul club Besiktas JK.
…James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 19/01/2015