Amed­spor soc­cer play­er Deniz Naki has been through the mill…

For­mer mem­ber of the FC St Pauli, he had joined the team of Amed­spor, a club in Amed (Diyarbakır) that com­petes in D3 in Turkey. He played with them for two sea­sons and a half… Until…

In May 2017, Deniz Naki was giv­en a sus­pend­ed 18 month jail term for “ter­ror­ist pro­pa­gan­da” for shar­ing on social media his crit­i­cism of the Turk­ish army oper­a­tions in Kur­dish towns. A clas­sic, used over and over again for all oppo­nents who­ev­er they may be, intel­lec­tu­als, artists, aca­d­e­mics, civ­il ser­vants, polit­i­cal men and women, or sports­men and women… The Turk­ish pro­fes­sion­al soc­cer Dis­ci­pli­nary Board (PFDK – Pro­fesy­onel Fut­bol Disi­plin Kuru­lu) had termed his ini­tia­tive of “ide­o­log­i­cal pro­pa­gan­da” con­trary to “the spir­it of sports”. A deci­sion that can be con­sid­ered “ide­o­log­i­cal ” and “con­trary to the spir­it of sports”,  in its turn… Which is what Naki explains in his  Jan­u­ary 31 2018 dec­la­ra­tion.

Last Jan­u­ary 7, the Kur­dish soc­cer­man was shot at from anoth­er car as he drove on a high­way near his native town of Düren near the Bel­gian border.

On Tues­day Jan­u­ary 30, anoth­er deci­sion was hand­ed down: the Turk­ish Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion (TFF) imposed a life­time sus­pen­sion on Deniz Naki! He will nev­er be allowed to play soc­cer again in Turkey and he is also fined  58.000 €. The sanc­tions are moti­vat­ed by “dis­crim­i­na­tion” and “ide­o­log­i­cal propaganda”.

What they will do to shut some­one up! When it comes to civ­il ser­vants, the State fires oppo­nents with­out salary and often with no pen­sion ben­e­fits, plus the loss of their pass­port. For jour­nal­ists (there are 164 of them incar­cer­at­ed in Feb­ru­ary), it is cus­tody fol­lowed by an accu­sa­tion of ter­ror­ism or of ter­ror­ist pro­pa­gan­da. For intel­lec­tu­als, there are threats of all kinds. The regime reigns through divi­sion and fear and on the theme of nation­al uni­ty, even in the sec­tors con­sid­ered as Kemal­ist oppo­si­tion circles…

But Deniz Naki will not keep qui­et, on the con­trary. This is prob­a­bly why he was the tar­get of a “trig­ger” recent­ly sent to Europe.

READ ALSO (in French)
The "terrorist" soccer man scores again… (February 2016) 
Following Deniz Naki's Acquittal (November 2016) 

To the press and to pub­lic opinion

Dear Amed­spor sup­port­ers and pre­cious people

I played for the Amed­spor team with enthu­si­asm for two sea­sons and a half, and gave it all my heart. Dur­ing this time, I record­ed beau­ti­ful mem­o­ries I will nev­er for­get for all my life. Out­side soc­cer, with all our heart, we cre­at­ed links with our peo­ple. I had days filled with love, respect, joy and hap­pi­ness, and a big fam­i­ly that offered me all that.

On the road we took with the aim of suc­cess, we can’t say we had much suc­cess. This always made us sad. As Amed­spor, we have been sad, we have laughed and we have blamed our­selves. We have felt and shared all these emo­tions as part of the Amed­spor family.

My life pri­or to Amed­spor was also built on free­dom, peace, and the fight for my land.

Know­ing that wear­ing the Amed­spor iden­ti­ty required a tough and dif­fi­cult strug­gle, an upright pos­ture, I tried to dis­play the right atti­tude. And I act­ed with the con­scious­ness that all is not lim­it­ed to soc­cer. After Amed­spor, I will also go on liv­ing with this attitude.

Above every­thing, I place kind­ness, beau­ty, sol­i­dar­i­ty, peace, the fact of liv­ing humane­ly and patri­o­tism which requires a social sen­si­bil­i­ty. Because these are the val­ues to which I am tied. They define me, make me who I am. The day I for­feit these val­ues, I will be destroyed.

Who does not take own­er­ship of his past can­not pos­sess his present or his future. Who does not take own­er­ship of his His­to­ry and his cul­ture can­not own his dig­ni­ty and his free life. A human being can only exist through his His­to­ry, his cul­ture and his soci­ety.” I have always lived accord­ing to these words which I con­sid­er extreme­ly well thought out.

Because of this pos­ture I have suf­fered many ver­bal and phys­i­cal assaults on soc­cer fields.

The cow­ard­ly armed attempt that tar­get­ed me recent­ly in Ger­many could have tak­en my life. I know very well that God pro­tect­ed me thanks to the prayers of our peo­ple and of peo­ple who know me.

I could not stay insen­si­tive to the mas­sacres and con­fronta­tions in Sur, Nusay­bin, Sil­van, Cizre, Silopi, Şır­nak. I could not keep silent while peo­ple were dying near me and I did not keep silent. As one who hopes for peace, I can­not stay insen­si­tive to the war being con­duct­ed in Afrin. Because peo­ple are dying. I have called for aware­ness so that these deaths and this war may stop. I have also react­ed against per­se­cu­tion and injus­tice wher­ev­er they may occur in the world, and I will go on doing so. It is my human and legit­i­mate right. But the press allied (to pow­er) in Turkey has once again pulled this into some­thing dif­fer­ent, trans­form­ing me in the media into a tar­get for a lynch­ing cam­paign. In those muck­rack­ing medias, these slan­der­ous prac­tices have become a tradition.

We must not for­get that before being sports­peo­ple, doc­tors, teach­ers, artists, admin­is­tra­tors, work­ers, believ­ers or non-believ­ers, from the right or the left, con­ser­v­a­tives or lib­er­als etc… we are first and fore­most human beings. And it is our respon­si­bil­i­ty to bear wit­ness to the val­ues of human­i­ty. Although with my club, Amed­spor, we ter­mi­nat­ed the con­tract by mutu­al con­sent, pri­or to the deci­sion by the Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion of Turkey, I was giv­en penal­ties the heav­i­ness of which had nev­er been seen in the his­to­ry of the Turk­ish Pro­fes­sion­al Soc­cer Dis­ci­pli­nary Board. My licence as a soc­cer play­er was rescind­ed, I was for­biden to play soc­cer in Turkey, and received fines for exor­bi­tant amounts.

The fact the fed­er­a­tion imposed on me the great­est sanc­tion in his­to­ry demon­strates the lev­el to which it is polit­i­cal and bears prej­u­dice and bias.

I know very well that the deci­sion is polit­i­cal. Your fas­cist and blood­ied polit­i­cal hands have touched soc­cer like every­thing else. To tell the truth, I would­n’t want to be part of a soc­cer sys­tem as soiled as this one. For this rea­son, your deci­sion has been a relief for me, somehow.

I want it to be known that this type of sanc­tions and impo­si­tions can­not take from me my ambi­tion for peace, free­dom and patri­o­tism. I have absolute­ly no regrets for what I have done, and think of what I could not do.

Capit­u­la­tion leads to trea­son, resis­tance to vic­to­ry. We resist­ed in Koç­giri, we resist­ed in Ağrı, we resist­ed in Dicle, in Der­sim, in Kobanê, and we will resist in Afrin. We have resist­ed in Kur­dis­tan, and we will go on resisting.We shall win.

I have stood upright all my life, I  have defend­ed those who were right, and I have lived with dig­ni­ty. No mat­ter what the con­se­quences, this atti­tude will be my life phi­los­o­phy until I die. If death must come, for this peo­ple, for peace, for a life in dig­ni­ty, let it come.

After all these prob­lem­at­ic times, I can no longer return to Amed­spor and to my lands. I leave our peo­ple to judge all the injus­tices, ille­gal­i­ties and persecutions.

I extend infi­nite thanks to the world of Amed­spor, our sup­port­ers, my soc­cer com­pan­ions who were at my side on the bad and the good days, as well as to my friends, the pre­cious ones of our peo­ple who, espe­cial­ly after the recent armed attack, called me, sup­port­ed me, pub­lished mes­sages of sup­port every­where in the world.

I will return some day with the say­ing “what does­n’t kill you makes you stronger” and we shall live days of peace, seren­i­ty and free­dom togeth­er. We will suc­ceed. This is not a mes­sage of good­bye but of existence.

Right next to my iden­ti­ty as a soc­cer man, I am also, to the tips of my fin­gers, Sey­it Riza­’s grand­son. I am from Der­sim, I am from Amed, I am from KURDISTAN.

With all my respect.

Deniz Naki

Illus­tra­tion : Deniz show­ing off one of his tat­toos. “Azadî”, free­dom in Kurdish…

Déc­la­ra­tion de Deniz Naki d’Amed­spor Cliquez pour lire

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