Fans of the three biggest football clubs in Istanbul cheered for çArşı together in front of the courthouse on Dec. 16, echoing their solidarity during last year’s Gezi Park protests when they were dubbed ‚Istanbul United.‘ DHA photo
A trial against 35 individuals associated with Beşiktaş’s football fan group çArşı on charges of “attempting to overthrow the government” during last year’s Gezi Park protests has started at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse.
The group received massive support from a crowd that included main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies.
“çArşı is conscience and cannot be judged,” the crowd chanted.
The parents of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old killed by police on a street close to his house during the Gezi Park protests, were also among the çArşı supporters.
The court’s judge refused to carry the case to another location due to a lack of room, a decision that was mocked by the fans who chanted, “The court rules for no away game.”
Human Rights Watch said in a written statement that the allegations were „ludicrous.“
“Charging these Beşiktaş football club fans as enemies of the state for joining a public protest is a ludicrous travesty,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, the senior Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“The indictment contains no evidence to support the coup attempt charges and should never have come to court. The prosecutor should immediately indicate that he does not believe the charges should be pursued and ask the court for their acquittal,” Sinclair-Webb added.
The court accepted on Sept. 11 the indictment charging members of the çArşı of a “coup attempt” against the government.
The accusation against Beşiktaş’s iconic supporters group has been strongly criticized both domestically and internationally.
According to the indictment, çArşı members are accused of attempting to capture the Prime Ministry’s offices in Ankara and Istanbul with the aim of creating “Arab Spring-like upheaval” and attempting to overthrow the government.
Supporters from çArşı were among the first groups to brave violent police crackdowns and continued to demonstrate during the first days of the Gezi protests, which led to many supporters being detained.
Another trial is ongoing against members of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, a local association that initiated the protest by calling for action against the cutting down of trees at Gezi Park.
The group had earlier received a large international support after the indictment, with fans of Germany’s Borussia Dortmund football club displaying placards reading “çArşı ultras, fight for your path,” “Never give up” and “Freedom to Ultras and Turkey as well,” in a league game against Freiburg in September.
çArşı has reacted against the indictment, stating in a press conference in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district that it has always been socially aware on many issues, from the rights of people with disabilities to child labor and nuclear power, expressing dismay about allegations that it is an “armed organization,” as stated in the indictment.
“We have advocated a Turkey without nuclear power, and said donating blood would save lives. There was an earthquake in Van, we went to help. The Foundation for Children with Leukemia built new shelters, and we led the way. Our friends filled buses after the mining disaster in Soma to see if they could make themselves useful there. We said, ‘Take your dirty hands off our children’ for child workers. We still campaign for our citizens with disabilities. What we have done for animal shelters is also well-known,” Çarşı said in a Sept. 9 statement.
Quelle: Hürryet Daily News, 16. Dezember 2014