During a friendly soccer match between Turkey and Greece on Tuesday, a moment of silence was interrupted by the sounds of “boo” and “Allahu akbar,” CNN reports. The moment of silence was set aside to be a 60-second memorial and tribute to the victims of the November 13 Paris terror attacks. ISIS has since claimed responsibility for those attacks, which killed 132 and left 350 injured, prompting waves of retaliatory bombings inside Syria by the French air force and a massive international investigation and manhunt.
It has been reported that the terrorists responsible for both the November 13 terror attacks in France and the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks in France back in January shouted the same phrase that was chanted during the soccer match’s moment of silence: “Allahu akbar.”
With victims of last Friday’s terror attacks still recovering from their injuries and/or being memorialized by stunned loved ones, it’s no surprise that social media was quick to condemn the tasteless, tactless, and classless violation of the game’s moment of silence.
To be honest I know I've bet on turkey but after seeing the fans boo the minute silence for France I hope they lose. #noRespect— 10 Pound Bets (@10poundbetting) November 17, 2015
It’s important to note that the “boos” and jeers during the moment of silence didn’t come from Turkey’s soccer team, but rather the team’s fans. It’s also important to note that not only did this same thing occur in response to the January terror attacks in France, it also reportedly happened as recently as October when a moment of silence was held for the victims of attacks in Ankara, Turkey.
While the anger at the response of some fans to the moment of silence was clear on social media, it was also clearly demonstrated by the coach of Turkey’s soccer team, Fatih Terim.
“We shouldn’t portray ourselves like this. When our fans act like that, we will have a hard time explaining ourselves to the rest of the world.”
Greece and Turkey have a long history of being rivals, both on the soccer field and off. Tuesday’s match-up marked the first time the soccer teams had competed in eight years, according to the Guardian. The leaders of both nations, Ahmet Davutoglu and Alexis Tsipras, were both in attendance. They even watched the game side-by-side in a largely ceremonial show of goodwill reconciliation both on the field and off. No word on their reaction to the unconscionable rudeness during the game’s moment of silence.
The moment of silence that was not observed by so many Turkish fans is something that has been incorporated into soccer matches across the European continent since Friday’s terror attacks. In every other instance, the moment of silence has been respected and observed.
Going into the nearly-historic match-up on Tuesday, Turkey was undefeated this season. The match with Greece ended in a 0-0, which preserves Turkey’s place in Euro 2016, despite their fan’s behavior during the observed moment of silence. While neither team was able to pull off a goal, Turkey managed a dozen attempts while Greece was only able to attempt once.
Regardless of the outcome of the game or its undertone of reconciliation between two rival countries and teams, the entire event was overshadowed by the behavior of Turkey’s fans during the game’s moment of silence.
There were even some who came out to defend the moment of silence chants. They have come out and stated that what was being shouted during the moment of silence weren’t “boos” and “Allahu akbar” at all. Rather, those criticizing the public backlash of the behavior of Turkish fans during the moment of silence say, what is heard are denouncements of terrorist organizations and “nationalist slogans.”
Even if this is the case, though, couldn’t Turkey’s fans have found a more appropriate, less offensive time to be shouting than during a moment of silence? Could they not have shown a little bit of respect during a 60-second moment of silence for the innocent victims of senseless terrorism?
[Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images]