Turkish Parliamentary General Assembly adopted anew a legislation that brings down penalties in cases of match-fixing without any changes despite its public opposiiton.
An İstanbul court on Friday accepted an indictment that accuses 93 suspects, including Turkey's top football officials, of involvement in match-fixing, amidst controversy over a bill seeking to shorten jail terms for match-fixers, which was vetoed by the president last week.
The prosecutor seeks the imprisonment of Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım for up to 132 years for his involvement in match-fixing-related crimes and other felonies. Yıldırım is 59 years old; a long jail sentence for him would be tantamount to life in prison.
Earlier, President Abdullah Gul said that he had discomfort with the legislation, and he vetoed and returned the law to the Parliament.
The law was adopted early on Saturday by 284 votes against six votes and one abstention.
If the law is approved in Parliament for a second time, the president has no authority to veto it again but can take it to the Constitutional Court for annulment, which the president had indicated earlier he might do.
The bill has been highly controversial, primarily because it was prepared amidst a major match-fixing probe currently under way in Turkey. The investigation concerns allegations that some club officials and footballers rigged games in the Spor Toto Super League (first division) and the Bank Asya League 1 (second division).
The president vetoed the law on the grounds that the sentences spelled out in the new law were not deterrents and that it was wrong to amend the law soon after the beginning of a match-fixing probe.
Discussions surrounding the law, the veto and its aftermath have not been pretty, either. Observers claim the bill has caused rifts inside the AK Party.
The Fenerbahçe chairman faces six charges of fraud, four for match-fixing and three for incentive payment, or bribing the opposing team. Yıldırım is also accused by the prosecutor of setting up a gang for the purposed of unlawful economic profit. The prosecutor has demanded between 59 and 132 years for Yıldırım for the felonies.
Former Giresunspor Chairman Olgun Peker, who is named as the prime suspect in the case by the prosecutor, is also accused of forming an organized criminal gang. A total of 14 players stand accused. Eight teams have been mentioned in connection with match-fixing or incentive payment: Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş, Mersin İdman Yurdu, Manisaspor, Trabzonspor, Sivasspor, Giresunspor and İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor.
The 401-page indictment was submitted to court a day after President Gül vetoed parliamentary amendments that would have reduced prison terms for match-fixing. Parliament voted for the changes late last month, only eight months after it approved sentences of up to 12 years for anyone convicted of fixing games. The changes led to criticism that they were designed to save Yıldırım, despite the denial of the government.
A statement from Gül's office on Dec. 2, however, said the president vetoed the new reduced term of three years because it gave "the impression of a special arrangement" to save the suspects. It was a rare veto of government-backed legislation by the president.
The first hearing of the trial is scheduled to be held on Feb. 14.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu three times on Thursday.
"If Israel continues with this attitude, it will definitely be tried at international courts," Erdogan told a rally of supporters in the southern port city of Mersin.
A major operation in Istanbul and other cities saw 104 police officers and chiefs detained and 22 of them sent to the court.
Troubles in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and Israel are forcing airlines travelling between the east and the west to fly through Turkey.
"The U.S., Turkey, Qatar and Egypt have been working for the last five days to ensure an immediate ceasefire," Ahmet Davutoglu said
Turkey called on citizens to immediately leave Libya and avoid non-essential travel after airports were closed down due to shelling.
Turkish dailies reported Thursday on the latest developments of the operation in Istanbul and other cities against the police officers and officials in wiretapping probe, the latest clashes in Israel and Palestine and the Taiwan plane crash which left 51 dead.
Syrian refugee: “Syrians brought dynamism to trade here in Gaziantep”.
'We will continue to remind the world of the blood of innocent Palestinian infants and children,' Turkish PM Erdogan said.
Hamas does possess rockets that can reach Israel's Ben Gurion airport although the accuracy of the rockets does remain limited, the State Department said
Turkey's Constitutional Court rejects an appeal by opposition parties that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan should resign to run for president
A woman who was 9 months pregnant was one of 170 Afghan and Syrian refugees saved by the Turkey Aegean Coast Guard.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul reiterated that Turkey s making tireless efforts in order that peace can be re-established in Syria and suggested to the Syrian refugees living at camps in the country that they take advantage of the amenities and opportunities which the government provides for them in such areas as health and education.
Salih Mirzabeyoglu, otherwise known as Salih Izzet Erdis, was locked up following Turkey's 28 February 1997 coup.
High-speed rail project linking Ankara and Istanbul to be opened on Friday after latest delays blamed on May sabotage.
Turkey's Deputy PM Bulent Arinc said a ceasefire must be declared at once between Palestine and Israel and demanded an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.