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Turkey: 72 football fans detained for blackmail

Published: Updated:

The Interior Minister says police have raided homes and detained 72 members from fan groups of the three biggest Turkish football teams for their alleged involvement in blackmail, threats and other crimes.

Muammer Guler says the Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas fans are suspected of engaging in “organized crime” for allegedly blackmailing their clubs with threats of violence at games that would cause the teams to receive fines or other penalties.

Guler says the detained fans are suspected of 16 criminal acts that also include armed threats, raiding venues and attacking security officials.

The sweep comes days after Besiktas was ordered to play four games behind closed doors after fans invaded the pitch during a weekend derby against Galatasaray.

Football fans played a prominent role in anti-government demonstrations in June.