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Fans in Turkey unite during the first Turkish Fan Symposium in Istanbul 

Supporters from across the country met at the first Turkish Fan Symposium with participation and support from international guests and prominent experts and representatives of the Turkish world of sport. 

The event took place in Istanbul on the 2nd and 3rd of August 2014 at in Maltepe/Istanbul and was organised and hosted by Taraftar Hakları Derneği (THD) in collaboration with Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and Taraf Der and with support of Maltepe Municipality. Representatives from more than 20 supporter groups from clubs from across Turkey, sports lawyers, academics, as well as international representatives from FSE attended. THD and Taraf Der are two independent supporter rights organizations, established in Izmir and Ankara respectively, and  both affiliated to FSE.

The Turkish 6222 law as well as the fan ID e-ticket scheme “Passolig” were the hottest key items of discussion over the 2-day event. Law 6222 is a law, which was approved by the Turkish Parliament in March 2013 as “preventive law to stop violence and disorder in sports”. The ‘Passolig’ card was introduced by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) in earlier this year on the basis of law 6222, as mandatory personalised e-ticket scheme for entry to all professional football grounds in Turkey.

THD representative Burkal Efe Sakızlıoğlu therefore opened the symposium by describing perceived double standards in the implementation of the 6222 law, and the many negative consequences of an often seemingly arbitrary enforcement of its provisions. The international FSE delegates Daniela Wurbs (FSE CEO), Heidi Thaler (KOS - co-ordination office for German fans projects) from Germany, Garreth Cummins (Football Supporters Federations - FSF) from England talking about alternatives to such laws & policies from football in other countres in Europe which involve the fans and work very successfully. Author and blogger Kai Tippmann, however, reported about the dramatic consequences of the introduction of the fan ID card “Tessera del Tifoso” for football in Italy which was used as a basis for the Passolig system in Turkey.

Legal experts at the symposium then underpinned the overarching call for a change to the current system in Turkey by raising grave concerns about data security, proportionateness and the breach of personal privacy created with the current form of the Passolig card. Taraf-Der lawyer Ertuğrul Cem Cihan elaborated on the ongoing court case against the “Passolig” whilst stating, however, that a judicial process  was not enough: “There is so many fans that are opposed to Passolig. All these fans should come together and they should support this case on the streets.”

The fan arguments also received prominent support: Beşiktaş JK Executive Committee member İbrahim Atınsay, Emir Güney (Head of Kadir Has Sports Studies and Research Center), Tuğrul Akşar (football economist) and Mert Yaşar (Member of the Türkish National Olympics Committee and Sports Lawyer) were present. Ibrahim Altınsay said “Before the globalization of our sport, fans and football players, sportsmen were all together. After the globalization, football has become just an industry. In fact, the important thing is to protect the core of fans’ awareness which is irrational and inexplicable. Through Passolig the personal information of the spectators will be collected and if necessary they can be used. Without personal allowance, none of the personal information should be used and collected.”

In the closing fans forum, the participating supporter representatives underlined the importance of showing more solidarity beyond rivalries and to improve networking and communication among fans at national level in Turkey. As a next step, further networking meetings on a more regular basis are planned to take place in different cities in Turkey over the coming months.


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