World Bulletin/News Desk
A group of football fans who took part in last year's Gezi protests have appeared before an Istanbul court for the first time to face charges of trying to overthrow the Turkish government.
The thirty-five suspects are linked to an ‘ultras’ fan group called “Carsi”, well-known as diehard fans of the Istanbul football club Besiktas. The accused, all males, are aged between 21 and 55.
The accused and their lawyers attended the opening of the trial on Tuesday at Istanbul’s biggest courthouse, Caglayan.
Hundreds of football fans, including those of Besiktas’ rivals – Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Trabzonspor – gathered outside the courthouse to support the suspects. Trade unionists also demonstrated outside, where one group shouted: “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance” – a slogan heard during the 2013 Gezi Park protests.
Members of the opposition Republican People’s Party were also at the court to watch the judicial process.
The Istanbul Public Prosecutor's office prepared an indictment last September with a demand for life sentences for the Besiktas fans for "attempting to overthrow the legally elected government through illegal means."
"It is specified that they attempted to occupy the Prime Ministry Office in Istanbul's Besiktas district to create a perception of an 'authority vacuum' in Turkey, also simultaneously encouraging protesters in Ankara to occupy the office of the Prime Ministry," the indictment read.
The 2013 protests began as an environmental demonstration in Istanbul and quickly mushroomed into a nationwide anti-government protest over plans to replace Gezi Park in Istanbul with a shopping mall.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Aralık 2014, 15:18