Fenerbahce refuse to apologize for fans' 'Vladimir Putin' chant
Ankara, July 30, 2022 (AFP) - Fenerbahce's club president on Saturday insisted that they would not apologise after their fans chanted Vladimir Putin's name during a match against Dynamo Kyiv.
Images on social media showed a section of Fenerbahce's packed stadium singing the Russian president's name in response to Dynamo's first goal against the Istanbul side in a Champions League qualifying match on Wednesday.
Ukraine's envoy to Turkey expressed "sadness" over the chants and Fenerbahce initially said their fans' behaviour did "not represent the stance and values of our club".
But the club's boss Ali Koc hit out at Ukrainian officials.
"We're not going to apologise to Ukraine," he said. "It's up to the Ukrainian ambassador and the foreign minister's spokesperson to apologise to us, after their inappropriate remarks.
"I think it was an inappropriate and unnecessary chant, far from how we view ourselves as a club. But what can we do? Shut their mouths?"
The Fenerbahce fans sang the name of Putin after Vitaliy Buyalskyi's goal for Dynamo in the Ukrainians' 2-1 extra-time victory, which dumped the Turkish side out of the Champions League.
"Our armed forces beat Putin 2-1 on Turkish soil. We recommend Turkish fans to be on the winning side," tweeted the spokesperson for Ukraine's foreign ministry after the game.
Dynamo's irate Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu refused to attend the mandatory post-match press conference in protest.
On Thursday, UEFA announced it was opening an investigation into "alleged misbehaviour of Fenerbahce supporters".
Putin has questioned the Ukrainian nation's right to exist and branded its leaders as "Nazis" who must be deposed.
The five-month war has claimed thousands of lives and featured relentless missile and rocket attacks against Ukrainian cities that have killed civilians daily.
Turkey has tried to stay neutral in the conflict despite its membership of the US-led NATO defence alliance.