Turkey: 72 soccer fans detained for blackmail

September 27, 2013 - 7:35 AM

ISTANBUL (AP) — The Turkish Interior Minister says police have raided homes and detained 72 soccer fans suspected of involvement in blackmail, threats and other crimes.

Muammer Guler says fans of Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas are suspected of 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 ran onto the field during a weekend match against Galatasaray.

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