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Fenerbahçe fans banned from away game after shouting anti-gov’t slogans

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Fans of İstanbul football club Fenerbahçe will be unable to cheer for their team during an away game against Kayserispor on Saturday after they shouted anti-government slogans in the wake of two devastating earthquakes that struck Turkey earlier this month, according to a decision from a local sports board in Kayseri.

The Kayseri Provincial Sports Security Board made the decision to ban Fenerbahçe fans from Kayserispor’s stadium on Saturday after Fenerbahçe fans angered the government for demanding that it resign.

Fenerbahçe fans called on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been ruling Turkey as a single-party government since 2002, to resign during a home match against Konyaspor on Saturday evening.

“Twenty years of lies and cheating, resign,” Fenerbahçe fans shouted during the match.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP government have come under fire following the twin earthquakes, which hit the country’s south and southeast on Feb. 6, due to what many said was poor handling of the disaster, belated search and rescue efforts and failure to provide basic necessities to the survivors in addition to their failure to prepare the country for quakes as it lies on major fault lines and is frequently struck by deadly earthquakes.

The earthquakes, which registered magnitudes of 7.8. and 7.5, caused the biggest disaster in the history of modern Turkey, claiming the lives of more than 45,000 people, according to the most recent official figures.

A Tuesday statement from Fenerbahçe said it was impossible for them to accept the sports board’s decision to ban its fans from the match against Kayserispor. The İstanbul club has called on the authorities to review the decision and reverse it.

The fans of Beşiktaş, another İstanbul club, followed suit on Sunday as they called on the government to resign before throwing thousands of stuffed animals onto the pitch for child victims of the powerful earthquakes.

In response to the anti-government slogans during the Beşiktaş match, Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an ally of Erdoğan, canceled his Beşiktaş membership and called on club management to prevent such displays or to play matches in empty stadiums.

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