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Turkey to take action after fans disrupt Paris silence

19 November 2015, 21:43

Istanbul - Turkey's football authorities on Thursday adopted an action plan on fan behaviour to prevent a repeat of the whistling and shouting during a minute of silence for the Paris attacks victims that shocked observers.

Some Turkish football fans shouted "God is great" and booed the opposing Greek team during a minute's silence for the 129 people killed in the Paris attacks ahead of an international friendly in Istanbul on Tuesday.

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Their behaviour caused outrage outside of Turkey and was a huge embarrassment for the Turkish football authorities, who in the last years have sought to bring boisterous fans into line.

At a meeting with national team coach Fatih Terim, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) agreed a series of measures to ensure its image is not hurt again, the Hurriyet daily and other Turkish media said.

Terim will emphasise in his press conferences the importance of fan behaviour, in particular during the national anthems of opposing sides.

Brochures will be printed in a publicity campaign and placed on seats at stadiums before matches.

Meanwhile, the point will be further rammed home in video advertisements by Terim and top players, it added.

Hurriyet said Terim, a hugely respected figure in Turkish football, was incandescent with fury over the behaviour of the fans.

"What is happening to us? We do things that we would not want others to do to us. We are paying homage to the dead. We can't wait one minute? Please," he said.

"Turkey must take action to correct its image in Europe," he added.

Many saw the shouting of "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) as a deliberate insult to the victims of the Paris attacks.

Some Turkish commentators have said most likely the jibes were aimed at Turkey's historic foe Greece rather than sympathy for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group that carried out the attacks.

The scenes have been unfavourably compared with the solidarity showed by English fans with their French counterparts at the England-France friendly at Wembley also on Tuesday.

In an interview with A-Haber TV late on Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the behaviour of a "few hundred" fans.

"It's unacceptable. We are not such an intolerant nation that we cannot show respect during a national anthem. It's not in the genes of this nation."

"How would we take it if another country did this to us?" he asked.

Turkish supporters last month also shouted "Allahu Akbar" during a moment of silence commemorating the 103 victims of twin suicide bombings in tha capital Ankara.



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