Beşiktaş fans raise banner of Greek Genocide perpetrator before clash with PAOK

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Fans of Turkish club Beşiktaş last night raised a banner of the main perpetrator of the Greek Genocide (1913-1923) and the Ottoman conquerer of Constantinople (Turkish: İstanbul).

The banner, which featured an image of Turkey's founding father and perpetrator of the Greek Genocide, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as well as the Ottoman Sultan who conquered Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed II, had written "You Can't Run From Your Fate" in an obvious reference to genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Greek club PAOK kicks off with Beşiktaş at 21:00 local time. The match will be held behind closed doors due to the COVID-10 pandemic and the hostile relations between Greece and Turkey at the moment.

In today's match, the two coaches will be entitled to three changes. Only in case of extra time will they be able to proceed with one more. At the same time, there is no use of the VAR in the qualifying matches.

The referee will be the Italian Daniele Doveri with assistants Mateo Passeri and Dario Kekkoni.

It is sure to be hotly contested tonight. PAOK FC presented the new team jersey for the 2020-2021 season days ago and it had a hidden message.

At the bottom of the black and white striped jersey, which will be worn by PAOK players, there is a very special message:

“Hellenism. Hagia Sophia. PAOK. Refugees. Asia Minor. Pontus. Constantinople,” are written on the inside of the new PAOK jersey, as reported by Greek City Times.

PAOK was established on 20 April 1926 as a club for Greek refugees who fled to Thessaloniki from Constantinople and other areas of what became the Turkish Republic in 1923 in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) and the Greek Genocide.

The club established by Greek refugees adopted the Double-headed eagle as the club’s emblem to symbolise their Byzantine heritage.

It is for this reason that Beşiktaş' display of their genocidal founding father and the conqueror of Constantinople is extra provocative, as most PAOK fans are descended from genocide survivors or from Constantinople.