A third-division soccer player in Turkey is under investigation after he was accused of attacking and cutting multiple opponents at a match over the weekend. Amed SK’s Mansur Çalar allegedly slashed players of opposing side Sakaryaspor before and during the clubs’ heated 1-1 draw on Saturday. Four players were injured with what is being reported as either a needle or a concealed razor blade.
A video from Turkish TV station Tv264 showed a few of the incidents, with Çalar coming up to Sakaryaspor players Ferhat Yazgan and Haci Dogru, as well as two other unnamed players. All of them reacted as if they were in pain:
After the match, the Sakaryaspor players looked like they had been attacked by a pint-sized version of Wolverine:
Amed SK have already hit back at the video and photos, both with an explanation for the provocation and a claim that, actually, Çalar didn’t have a blade on him while on the field (it’s safe to assume you never expect to have to say those words as the PR arm of a soccer club). According to a translation by Turkish journalist Emre Sarigul, the club blames Sakarayaspor for employing a variety of nationalistic propaganda prior to the match:
According to pro-Kurdish agency Kurdistan24's Ari Khalidi, the propaganda included anti-Kurdish footage and songs:
On the digital scoreboard, before the game began, footage of Turkish military operations against Kurdish rebels was shown with audio of Ottoman war songs and ultra-nationalist slogans playing in the background.
Helicopters, tanks, armored vehicles, and soldiers operating in the Kurdish region were showcased in the video.
However, Khalidi does not acknowledge the blade incident in his story, while also erroneously reporting that Sakaryaspor won, 2-0.
The Amed SK official account also tweeted a post-match incident in the locker room, as a horde of seemingly pro-Sakaryaspor fans attempted to rush the locker room. The club said that manager Sertac Kucukbayrak was injured after receiving a kick from a rival supporter, but that no other serious injuries were reported.
Amed SK hails from a predominantly Kurdish region of Turkey and is seen as a proxy club for the “patriot” Kurdish independence movement. The club was bought in 1990 by the city council of Diyarbakir as a response to the city’s previous club, Diyarbakirspor, supposedly becoming a function of the Turkish deep state. (Amed is the Kurdish name of the city, and the club name was changed to Amed SK in 2015, without permission from the Turkish Football Federation.) Amed SK has been disciplined for its fans’ pro-Kurdish displays, so often that Amed SK star Soran Haldi Mızrak told Qantara in 2017 that “disciplinary measures are unfortunately part of our team identity.”
For now, Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu claims that there is an investigation into the incident, and that Çalar has been banned from leaving the country until it is resolved.