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Jordan Bardella and Marine Le Pen. Twitter

Geopolitics meet sport: France-Turkey match becomes high security risk

The French football team faces Turkey on Monday night but French authorities fear heightened tensions since Ankara has launched an offensive against the Kurds in Syria.

Published: October 14, 2019, 1:05 pm

    Paris

    France’s football team faces Turkey on Monday evening , October 14, at the Stade de France and authorities are already worried about possible excesses, reported Europe 1.

    The match, which will allow the blue French team to qualify for Euro 2020 in case of victory, takes place in a particular context as Ankara has launched its offensive against the Syrian Kurds.

    These bombings were condemned by Paris. At the same time the Syrian army of President Bashar al-Assad has announced its support for the Kurdish militia.

    In France, the match is now classified as a high risk event. More than 600 members of the police and 1 400 stadium staff will be mobilized this Friday evening during the match. The risk is that clashes between French fans and Turkish supporters could break out, according to Europe 1, as there will be between 20 000 and 40 000 fans in the stands.

    For his part, the Turkish coach Senol Günesh tried to inject calm into the situation by explaining that he was “against any kind of violence” while warning Turkish fans not to take things too far. “I want to talk to all the fans. If they come, it’s for fun. They can applaud France. Football is peace and fraternity.

    Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will not attend the match, although his possible presence has been discussed for several days, according to BFMTV.

    Despite these different precautions, some fear the worst and several political figures have asked for the cancellation of the match. UDI President Jean-Christophe Lagarde expressed his concern on Twitter, evoking a military salute from the Turkish team in a match against Albania on Friday 11 October.

    “With this military salute, the Turkish football team has unfortunately broken through the fence that separates sport from politics. We can not decently welcome at the Stade de France those who salute the massacre of our Kurdish allies!” he wrote on the social network.

    National Rally MEP Jordan Bardella said he believes that “football should not serve Erdogan’s propaganda” and also focused attention on the military salutes by the Turkish soccer team. “Unthinkable that Turkish players display the military salute on our soil, or that the Marseillaise will still be whistled tonight,” he added on Twitter.

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