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Turks kick around Erdogan conspiracy

When the pro-government media discovers a political conspiracy in a soccer game, it is not time to be amused, but to be worried.
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On Feb. 22, international news reported an interesting piece of sports news from Turkey: A soccer player had shown a red card to a referee. It was a kind of man-bites-dog story. Normally, of course, referees show red cards to soccer players to throw them out of the game due to a serious breach of the rules.

This incident took place during a match between Galatasaray and Trabzonspor, two major teams of Turkey. Throughout the match, the referee, Deniz Bitnel, angered Trabzonspor fans for his perceived pro-Galatasaray decisions. Toward the end of match, Bitnel called a controversial penalty against Trabzonspor, which gave an advantage to Galatasaray. In return, Salih Dursun, an angry Trabzonspor player, grabbed the referee’s card that Bitnel was showing to one of Dursun’s teammates and waved it in Bitnel’s face.

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