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Minister Soylu told Fenerbahçe chair to warn İstanbul mayor-elect about attending football match

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A Turkish columnist on Wednesday claimed Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu called Fenerbahçe football club chairman Ali Koç before a match on Sunday, saying he should warn the opposition party’s İstanbul mayor-elect about going to the stadium for the game, citing security concerns.

Columnist Nagehan Alçı on Monday reported that she received a call from Ekrem İmamoğlu following the Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray matches on Sunday night because Alçı had earlier called on him not to go to the matches, fearing that it could stoke tension.

According to Alçı İmamoğlu said her concerns were unwarranted and that there was no tension caused by his attendance at the matches, adding that there were some attempts, however, to prevent him from going at all.

He said both the Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe clubs received phone calls threatening them and ordering them to prevent his attendance at the matches.

When Alçı asked who made the threats, İmamoğlu said, “Let me just say for the time being that it was a minister.”

She wrote a follow-up column reporting that the minister was Soylu, who called Fenerbahçe’s Koç, saying he should pass security concerns on to İmamoğlu.

Before the derby, both Koç and İmamoğlu were present at the funeral of legendary Fenerbahçe player Can Bartu, and according to Alçı, the minister’s remarks were passed on there.

However, Alçı says, İmamoğlu told Koç that if the minister had concerns he could convey them personally.

Since March 31, Turkey’s election authority has refused to certify İmamoğlu as the winner because the AKP has been objecting to the results and asking for a recount of votes in the city.

The AKP even wants to hold a new election in İstanbul, where İmamoğlu has received at least 14,000 more votes than the AKP candidate, Binali Yıldırım.

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