Fenerbahçe refuses to apologize for fans’ ‘Vladimir Putin’ chant

Fenerbahçe’s club president on Saturday insisted that the club would not apologize after their fans chanted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name during a match against Dynamo Kyiv.

Images on social media showed a section of Fenerbahçe’s packed stadium singing the Putin’s name in response to Dynamo’s first goal against the Istanbul side in a Champions League qualifying match on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s envoy to Turkey expressed “sadness” over the chants and Fenerbahçe initially said their fans’ behavior did “not represent the stance and values of our club.”

But the club’s boss Ali Koç hit out at Ukrainian officials.

“We’re not going to apologize to Ukraine,” he said. “It’s up to the Ukrainian ambassador and the foreign minister’s spokesperson to apologize to us after their inappropriate remarks.

“I think it was an inappropriate and unnecessary chant, far from how we view ourselves as a club. But what can we do? Shut their mouths?”

The Fenerbahçe fans sang the name of Putin after Vitaliy Buyalskyi’s goal for Dynamo in the Ukrainians’ 2-1 extra-time victory, which dumped the Turkish side out of the Champions League.

“Our armed forces beat Putin 2-1 on Turkish soil. We recommend Turkish fans to be on the winning side,” tweeted the spokesperson for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry after the game.

Dynamo’s irate Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu refused to attend the mandatory post-match press conference in protest.

On Thursday, the UEFA announced it was opening an investigation into “alleged misbehavior of Fenerbahçe supporters.”

Putin has questioned the Ukrainian nation’s right to exist and branded its leaders as “Nazis” who must be deposed.

The five-month war has claimed thousands of lives and featured relentless missile and rocket attacks against Ukrainian cities that have killed civilians daily.

Turkey has tried to stay neutral in the conflict despite its membership in the U.S.-led NATO defense alliance.

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