A group of Beşiktaş fans has established a fan club to rival the Istanbul’s giant’s legendary çArşı group, naming themselves “1453 Kartal” (1453 Eagles) in reference to the conquest of Istanbul by Ottoman ruler Fatih Sultan Mehmet.
The 1453 Eagles announced their formation on the micro-blogging website Twitter with a tweet, stating they were born “as a reaction toward those who have sold their conscience.”
Without expressly pointing the finger at çArşı, the group made it clear that the new organization was established in response to the increasingly open anti-government stance of çArşı.
“Everything is beautiful in its place: Politics in Parliament, football fans on the field,” it tweeted, in reference to repeated government statements demanding that supporters separate politics from football.
Interior Minister Muammer Güler recently said supporters would be banned from chanting political slogans this season.
His statement came during a summer when Turkey’s football fans discovered their impact on the political stage. Fans of bitter rivals including Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe andGalatasaray together joined the Gezi Park protests, which turned into widespread anti-government rallies after a brutal police crackdown on a sit-in against a city renovation plan in Istanbul.
In particular, çArşı – whose motto is “Against everything” – was prominent in clashes with the police, notoriously commandeering a bulldozer before advancing on police during clashes in Beşiktaş in early June.