World Bulletin / News Desk
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a jeering protest targeting him at the inauguration of Galatasaray's long-awaited stadium on Saturday evening was organized.
Speaking to reporters in Ankara before flying to Syria, Erdoğan said the incident could not be attributed to the Galatasaray sports club, adding that it was an organized act. “While the inauguration should have been like a festival, what in fact transpired saddened us,” Erdoğan added.
Erdoğan also explained the background of the stadium.
“Some are insisting on not understanding things. The process was initiated upon the initiative of the late [Galatasaray President] Özhan Canaydın. Galatasaray was not in a position to build a new stadium,” he said.
“We decided to make a stadium fit for Galatasaray. As a location, Seyrantepe was chosen. Ali Sami Yen also doesn't belong to Galatasaray; it belongs to the state and the nation. The contractor could not fulfill the terms of the contract and we finished it, calling on [the Housing Development Administration of Turkey] TOKİ,” he added.
The prime minister, who is a diehard Fenerbahçe fan, also said he is the prime minister of the entire nation and that he doesn't engaged in any kind of discrimination [of football teams]. Referring to the general elections this summer, Erdoğan said, “The reality [that I am again prime minister] will come out on June 12.”
In the meantime, the Galatasaray administration issued a message to thank Erdoğan and included an apology for Saturday's incidents. “We extend eternal gratitude to Mr. Prime Minister for his unlimited support for this project and for honoring us at the inauguration,” the statement read. It is also noted that the jeering cannot be attributed to Galatasaray and that it worried all Galatasaray supporters nationwide.
"Arena does not belong to Galatasaray yet"
TOKİ spent about TL 600 million on constructing the new stadium, Ali Sami Yen Sports Complex Türk Telekom Arena, also known as Aslantepe. Galatasaray has not yet signed a contract with TOKİ for the use of the stadium, Erdoğan brought to mind on Sunday. The prime minister's implied threat dropped like a bombshell on Galatasaray "
Galatasaray President Adnan Polat called a press conference the same day and said efforts are under way to identify the jeering hooligans and that they would later be brought in by police for interrogation and would not be allowed inside the Galatasaray stadium ever again.
Already upset by the unsuccessful results of the football team, which trails leader Trabzonspor by as many as 19 points, Galatasaray fans await the outcome of the jeering incident. Whether or not the club will be required to pay rent in order to use the stadium will be made clear after Aslantepe is handed over to Galatasaray. The club currently has only signed a preliminary protocol. Following the official signing, it will be known for sure how long Galatasaray will be allowed to use the stadium, which had been predicted to be a period of 49 years.
Erdoğan had earlier said the Galatasaray Sports Club did not contribute a single penny to the construction of the ultramodern stadium. Saturday's opening was marred by the actions of fans who jeered Prime Minister Erdoğan, TOKİ President Erdoğan Bayraktar, Galatasaray Chairman Polat and even the visiting team, Ajax, which is unusual for friendly matches.
Last Mod: 17 Ocak 2011, 17:22