Troops keep peace at football 'war'

THE Champions League clash between the Italian and Turkish teams of Juventus and Galatasaray passed without the feared security breaches last night. Some 22,000 troops and police were drafted in for the game in Istanbul's Ali Sami Yen stadium which ended in a tense 1-1 draw.

Turkey has been in the grip of violent anti-Italian hysteria since Rome refused to hand over the Kurdish guerrilla Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who is regarded by most Turks as a terrorist responsible for the death of at least 30,000 people.

Italian-made goods have been burnt in the streets and there has been an unofficial boycott of trade with Italy. "This isn't football; it's war," said Serdar Gul, an Istanbul taxi-driver. It was a sentiment echoed all over the city.

The match was postponed for a week because of Juventus's fears for their safety in the fevered atmosphere.

The Ali Sami Yen stadium has a reputation in normal times as an intimidating cauldron where visiting teams are greeted with banners announcing "Welcome to Hell". Galatasaray fans at Istanbul airport yesterday threw white lilies before the Juventus bus - a hospitable gesture - but the Italian players looked out apprehensively.

Then Turin team risked the wrath of Uefa (the European football association) by refusing to travel to Istanbul for the requisite overnight stay, and arrived only hours before the match. They boarded their charter flight at Turin airport with long faces, despite a pep-talk from the coach, Marcello Lippi, urging them to put their worries behind them and concentrate on the game.

"One thing is for certain," Lippi said. "We're not going to end up like the turkey on Thanksgiving Day. I don't know whether we will be able to forget all that is going on around us but we will try to do the right thing".

The Italian Football Federation president, Luciano Nizzola, said that he was "very impressed" with the security precautions Turkey had taken.

"We weren't expecting such a warm reception," he said from the team's hotel on the Bosphorus. The managers of the Turin club have nevertheless supported the players' wish to remain in Turkey for as short a time as possible, just 13 hours, even though this means a hefty fine. The Juventus chairman, Vittorio Chiusano, said he would be pleased if the match helped ease the tension between Rome and Ankara. "If in the past there had been ping-pong diplomacy, now there will be football diplomacy," he said optimistically.

Galatasaray said it was expecting some Italian fans to attend the game. "We've taken every precaution, but there won't be a problem. Football isn't about politics," a spokesman said. At least one Turkish fan agreed. "There's no chance of any problems; the Turkish people are brothers of sport. And anyway, it's impossible with this level of security," Aydin Burdek said.

The match coincided with the appointment of Bulent Ecevit as Turkey's new Prime Minister after his predecessor fell in a corruption scandal. Mr Ecevit is likely to maintain Turkey's tough stance over Mr Ocalan.

As the Juventus squad arrived in Turkey the Italian parliament was about to begin a debate on the Ocalan case. Italy's Foreign Minister, Lamberto Dini, has confirmed that he would meet his Turkish counterpart, Ismail Cem, next Tuesday during a Nato ministerial session in Brussels.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam