A Turkish court charged 15 people on Thursday in an alleged match-fixing probe involving Istanbul’s Fenerbahce soccer club, in what the prime minister describes as a stain on Turkey’s image.
The suspects include two senior officials from Fenerbahce, Sekip Mosturoglu and Ilhan Eksioglu. The court also issued a warrant for Fenerbahce’s high-profile president, Aziz Yildirim.
A total of 22 people have now been jailed in the investigation, which was launched in December and has produced evidence of match-fixing in 19 games in the first and second divisions.
Also among the suspects are Bulent Uygun, technical director of the Eskisehirspor football club, and Mecnun Odyakmaz, president of the Sivasspor club, along with several other players.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called for a rapid and just outcome to the investigation, saying the probe was staining the country’s image internationally. Mr. Erdogan is a Fenerbahce fan.
Istanbul police headquarters said Wednesday it had seized eight unlicensed guns in the raids, which were launched early on Sunday in 15 provinces across Turkey.
Individuals convicted of match-fixing could face lengthy prison sentences.
Sports analysts speculate that among possible sanctions, Fenerbahce could face exclusion from competitions, relegation to a lower division and the loss of millions of dollars in income.
(Eman El-Shenawi, a writer at Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)