Kurdish football team withdraws from Turkish league citing racism

The football team of Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern city of Cizre has announced it is withdrawing from the Turkish football league citing ongoing racism against the club, pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya news agency reported on Tuesday.

Cizrespor, which competes in the second league of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), made the announcement on its social media accounts, pointing to injustices they have suffered at the hands of the TFF and theTurkishCentral Referee Committee (MHK), "There is no longer a Cizrespor for you [to direct] your racist chants and slogans," Metin Kılavuz, chairman of Amedspor, the flagship team of Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır, which also has history of suffering from racism in the Turkish league, said.

In a written statement regarding their withdrawal, Kilavuz described the problems the team has faced, referring to racist slogans and anthems, comparing stadiums and footballers to arenas and gladiators.

When will conscientiousness and common sense give voice to this silent scream?’’ Kılavuz asked. "We invite the prejudiced to behave with conscientiousness and prudence, whatever little there may be," Kılavuz said.

The TFF made international headlines in 2018 when it issued an Amedspor player a life ban from playing in the country after he posted a video on social media, calling for people to attend a march in solidarity with Kurds in Afrin.