Fans of Germany’s Borussia Dortmund football club have lent support to Çarşı, the iconic fan group of Turkey’s Beşiktaş, whose leading figures are now facing charges of attempting to stage a coup against the government.
Çarşı ultras, fight for your path read one large placard opened during the Borussia Dortmund match against Freiburg on Sept 13th. Another placard read Never give up while another stated Freedom to Ultras, also Turkey
An Istanbul court accepted Sept 11th an indictment charging 35 members of Çarşı with attempting to topple the government, following its involvement in last year’s Gezi protests.
The first hearing of the trial, in which suspects face life imprisonment, is set to be held on Dec16th.
According to the indictment, Çarşı members are accused of attempting to capture the Prime Ministry’s offices in Ankara and Istanbul with the aim of creating “Arab Spring-like upheaval” and attempting to overthrow the government.
Supporters from Çarşı were among the groups braving violent police crackdowns during the first days of the Gezi protests, which led to many supporters being detained.
Çarşı reacted to the indictment, stating in a press conference in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district that it has always been socially-aware on many issues, from disabled rights to child labor and nuclear power, expressing dismay about allegations that it is an “armed organization,” as stated in the indictment.
“We have advocated a Turkey without nuclear power, and said donating blood would save lives. There was an earthquake in Van, we went to help. The Foundation for Children with Leukemia built new shelters, and we led the way. Our friends filled buses after the mining disaster in Soma to see if they could make themselves useful there. We said, ‘Take your dirty hands off our children’ for child workers. We still campaign for our disabled citizens. What we have done for animal shelters is also well-known,” Çarşı said in its Sept 9th statement.