New İstanbul mayor welcomes prominent Kurdish football team

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Ekrem İmamoğlu, the newly elected mayor of İstanbul, has received executives from Amedspor, a football club based in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast, the Bold Medya news website reported.

“I had promised to stand with them,” İmamoğlu said. “See you guys in the matches.”

During the visit Amedspor executives presented him with a club jersey with his name written on it.

The club plays in Turkey’s second league and is seen by many as the foremost representative of Turkey’s Kurds in the most popular sport in the country.

While it was called Diyarbakır Büyükşehir Belediyespor until October 2014, its decision to change its name to include Amed, Diyarbakır’s original Kurdish name, earned it a fine by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) due to a “lack of official approval.”

Some of its players also faced disciplinary action by the TFF as well as prosecution, such as Deniz Naki, who in 2018 was suspended from football for life and sentenced by a court to 18 months for allegedly spreading propaganda for the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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