ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily News)—Turkish supporters attending a friendly soccer game against Greece on November 17 refused to participate in a minute of silence following the recent terror attacks in Paris, choosing instead to boo the commemoration.
A section of the crowd at Fatih Terim Stadium in Istanbul’s Basaksehir district had first whistled during the playing of the Greek national anthem, prompting Turkish star Arda Turan to argue with the crowd. Arda’s intervention, however, failed to stop the booing.
During the subsequent moment of silence, supporters also whistled their disapproval while a section of the crowed also reportedly shouted “Allah-u Akbar” and “Martyrs don’t die, the homeland will not be divided,” a common nationalist slogan.
“We’re staging a moment of silence for people that have died. Can’t we be patient for one minute? When we go abroad, we’re not able to explain this,” Turkish national team coach Fatih Terim said after the match. “It doesn’t reflect well on us at all.”
The match ended in a 0-0 draw.
The behavior in Basaksehir was in stark contrast to the scenes at London’s Wembley Stadium, where English and French fans both sang the French national anthem before the match before observing a minute of silence.
The booing ahead of the Greece game stirred reactions both in Turkey and abroad.
One month ago, Turkish supporters in the Central Anatolian province of Konya also booed a minute of silence for the victims of the October 10 bombing in Ankara, where 100 peace activists were killed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Da’esh.
The mark of respect was observed at matches across Europe, including at Wembley where France faced England, after Islamic State militants struck Paris last Friday, killing 129 people.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras watched the game together, in a sign of reconciliation between the two neighbors, whose relationship has suffered from hostilities in the past.
It was the first time the two teams had met for eight years. The Turkish Football Federation announced a string of additional security measures before the match at Basaksehir stadium, which was a 17,000 sell out.