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Why some Turkish sports fans terrorize their opponents

Turkish sports fans' recent show of disrespect for moments of silence for victims of Islamic State terror and other occasions is not necessarily a show of support for the extremist group.
Turkish soccer fans cheer before the Euro 2016 Group A qualifying soccer match between Turkey and the Netherlands in Konya, Turkey, September 6, 2015.  REUTERS/Umit Bektas  - RTX1RCR3
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Disruptive and disrespectful actions by Turkish sports fans has been in the news in recent months. On Nov. 21, the Israeli women’s national basketball team became the victim of such behavior in Ankara at the European Championships. During the singing of Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, Turkish fans threw water bottles, coins and other objects at the Israeli players on the court. The incident, reported widely in Israel, barely made the news in Turkey. 

Some fans at the basketball game applauded the violent acts of others in attendance. On Turkish social media, several tweets praised the disruptive fans while criticizing the arrest of eight people who had waved Palestinian flags. Even before the basketball game, some social media users had called on the government to cancel the match because of Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.

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