Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim and the Turkish football club’s midfielder Arda Turan spoke up early Tuesday on the discrimination the team experienced from Greek officials over a dispute on coronavirus procedures at Athens International Airport.
The dispute led to the cancellation of a friendly football match between Galatasaray and Greek club Olympiacos.
“We were all tested 24 hours ago. We all went there with the documentation of all our tests with us,” Terim said, adding according to the agreement between the two countries, both parties accept the test results, but they asked for a quick random test.
“Random tests were done. I was tested too,” Terim said, adding then the officers instructed him to call back everybody, saying everyone will be tested.
They also called back those who passed the test control point and got on the bus.
“After that, there was only one thing for us to do: go back,” he said.
“They asked for our passports. When we asked [why], they said they would deport us. We didn’t give our passports.
“You are calling back the people you have stamped on their passports,” he added, labeling it a “real comedy.”
Turan meanwhile said that “despite taking all measures, we faced behavior against human rights. Their manner was very forceful and disrespectful.”
“Our tests were done up to 48 hours ago. It wasn’t nice to be called back after we got on the bus,” he added.
In a written statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said: “The fact that Greece welcomes one of our country’s leading teams with such an attitude shows its intolerance towards our country, even in the field of sports.”
“It is sad to encounter such an environment while expecting a friendly match. This treatment benefits neither neighborly relations nor sportsmanship,” Turkey’s Ambassador to Greece, Burak Ozugergin, told Anadolu Agency.
The PCR tests of players for the Istanbul side were rejected by Greek officials, with new virus tests demanded, Galatasaray announced Monday, leading to the cancellation of the match with Olympiacos.
Greek officials also made them wait at the airport for two hours, even though they had completed all the procedures, said Galatasaray.
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