Football rivals' fans join forces in Taksim

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Football rivals' fans join forces in Taksim

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There is strength in unity according to an ancient Greek saying and Turkish football fans seem to have taken that to heart.

Putting aside their rivalries on the pitch, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas supporters have joined together in a unique solidarity gesture as part of the Gezi Park protests.

Pictures which showing them united for a common purpose in Istanbul’s central Taksim district on May 31st have been trending on social media, especially in Twitter.

Their actions have inspired other fans, including those of Bursaspor and Trabzonspor.

Fenerbahçe’s diehard online fan group ’12 Numara’ posted the statement: “We have come to this conclusion. Yellow without navy blue and red, black without white is impossible,’ a reference to team colours. The statement concluded: “With them, it is stronger and more beautiful”.

On June 1st, İzmir’s Karşıyaka and Göztepe, probably the fiercest rivals in Turkish football, joined forces to take part in protests.

Being experienced in battling with the police also gave them a key role in the riots. The fans were front-runners in the battles with police, according to Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News.

Over the weekend, Turkish football fans were colour-blind. They even swapped jerseys, as well as scarves to wrap around their faces to protect themselves from the tear gas police used against them.

Singer Feridun Düzağaç, a high-profile Beşiktaş fan, used Twitter to speak of his awe at the new-found brotherhood between Istanbul’s rivals. “The pride I had when Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe fans were shoulder-to-shoulder walking to the district shouting ‘Beşiktaş you are our everything’ was worth everything. I am grateful,” Düzağaç proudly tweeted.