Turkey detains suspected perpetrators of football attack

Turkey detains suspected perpetrators of football attack
A bus carrying Turkey's Fenerbahce football team was attacked on a highway in the country's northeast as the players were returning from an away game, the club said, adding that the driver was injured in the shooting.

ANKARA - Turkish police on Tuesday detained the suspected gunman and an alleged accomplice wanted for the attack on top flight football side Fenerbahce that sent shockwaves through the game in the country.

The bus carrying Fenerbahce's star-studded side was attacked as the team returned from an away victory in the Black Sea region on Saturday, leaving the driver badly hurt.

"Two suspects have been detained, they are being interrogated," Abdil Celil Oz, governor of the northeast region of Trabzon where the attack took place late on Saturday, said in televised comments.

One of the men is suspected of trailing the bus after it took the players away from the game in the Black Sea city of Rize.

He then alerted the suspected gunman when the bus was passing close to Trabzon which lies an hour's drive west of Rize, he said.

"There was evidence that one of them had been chasing the motorcade from Rize and the other had committed the armed attack," Oz said.

"Therefore we detained these two people early in the morning," said Oz.

Turkish media named the two suspects as Nihat S., 38, and Emre A., 27.

According to the Dogan news agency, the suspected accomplice of the gunman had filmed the attack on his mobile phone.

Both men have denied the charges against them, Dogan added. Oz did not give details on the suspected motives of the accused.

Fenerbahce had beaten Caykur Rizespor 5-1 and were driving to Trabzon to take a plane back to Istanbul. Trabzon is itself home to one of Fenerbahce's most bitter rivals, Trabzonspor.

The club said it would not play again until the incident was resolved and the Turkish Football Federation announced that league games would be suspended for one week.

On Monday, the regional prosecutor said a person had been detained after allegedly making death threats against club players on the Internet. There have been no further details on the investigation into this suspect.

Fenerbahce, which won its 19th Turkish league title in the 2013-14 season, is second in the current Super Lig standings, two points behind arch Istanbul rivals Galatasaray.

The club says it is still a victim of hostility following a match-rigging scandal that it vehemently contests but which resulted in its exclusion from European competition.

Several international stars were on board the bus when it came under attack, including Brazilian midfielder Diego Ribas da Cunha and Raul Meireles from Portugal. Dutch international winger Dirk Kuyt had not travelled to the game.

Media reports said the shots caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle but a team security official managed to slam on the brakes to prevent it plunging into a ravine.

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.