72 soccer fans of Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas were being held while their homes were being raided by police for their suspect involvement in blackmail, threats and other crimes, according to the Turkish Interior Minister.
Muammer Guler says they threatened the clubs with violence at games that would cause the teams to receive fines or other penalties. Guler says the detained are suspected of 16 criminal acts that also include armed threats, raiding venues and attacking security officials. The sweep comes days after Besiktas was ordered to play four games behind closed doors after fans ran onto the field during a weekend match against Galatasaray.
Soccer fans played a prominent role in anti-government demonstrations in June.
Over 500 police officers were involved in the raid of approximately 100 apartments in Istanbul’s Kadıkoy, Uskudar, Besiktas and Bakırkoy neighborhoods.
Among notable detainees listed Alen Markaryan, a prominent tribune leader of Besiktas and Sefa Kalya from Genc Fenerbahceliler group.
Police said that the raids were executed within a follow-up of soccer fan groups after last year’s scuffle in the Fenerbahce vs. Galatasaray game where hundreds of soccer fans from Turkey’s biggest soccer clubs were put through scanning.
On Wednesday, police also detained 29 individuals in Galatasaray vs Besiktas game after hundreds of protestors invaded the pitch, a scuffle that canceled the game.