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Postponement of Turkish Super Cup Final Sparks Political Controversy
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been at the center of criticism following the postponement of the Turkish Super Cup final between Istanbul’s two football giants, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The row erupted when Saudi organizers refused to allow players to wear jerseys with political slogans, causing the match to be called off.
Political Jerseys Lead to Postponement
The Turkish Super Cup final between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, scheduled to take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, faced a last-minute postponement after Saudi organizers objected to the teams’ intention to wear jerseys bearing the image of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern-day Turkey.
Political Controversy and Criticism
The decision to play the match in Saudi Arabia rather than in Turkey, as part of the republic’s centenary celebrations, has drawn criticism from the Turkish football federation and the opposition CHP party, accusing Erdogan’s government of failing to defend Turkey’s honor.
President Erdogan Brushes off Criticism
President Erdogan has downplayed the controversy, stating that attempts to politicize a sports event are misguided and detrimental. He has urged opposition parties not to abuse what should be a purely sporting occasion.
Fans Show Solidarity
Despite the disappointment, fans of both Fenerbahce and Galatasaray showed their solidarity by welcoming the returning players at the airport, waving Turkish flags and pictures of Ataturk.
International Diplomatic Strain
The strained relationship between Turkey and Saudi Arabia further fuels the controversy, following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, leading to international outrage and accusations against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Erdogan’s Efforts to Mend Ties
President Erdogan has made efforts to mend ties with Saudi Arabia, visiting the country in 2022, following his allegations that Khashoggi’s killing was orchestrated by the highest levels of the Saudi government.
In conclusion, the postponement of the Turkish Super Cup final has brought a new wave of controversy, prompting questions about the politicization of sporting events and the diplomatic strains between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.