By Semih Tuna/ Stuna@eurohoops.net
Tbilisi, Georgia – Furkan Korkmaz was ejected in the game between Georgia and Turkey, but as it turns out, that was only the tip of the iceberg.
After the game, the Turkish national team revealed that the player was attacked in the hallway of the locker rooms of the Tbilisi Arena and asked for the punishment of those who did it, or else the team will leave the Eurobasket.
Turkish federation vice-president and former player Omer Onan described the incident: “While Furkan Korkmaz was walking in the hallway to the locker rooms with our trainer, Georgia’s players who were not in the active roster attacked him together with the ejected player (ed.note: Duda Sanadze) and the police. There should not be an attack on the player that goes to the locker room. At the end of the match, 30 policemen each pushed us into a fight. We got into a fight with Georgia’s official police. I am calling out to FIBA and I have also told FIBA’s officials. Let no one deceive themselves or think that we are stupid. They will bring us all the camera footage from that corridor minute by minute without anything missing. If those cameras do not come to us, we will leave this tournament.
Wherever you look it, there is nothing to hold onto. The non-competing player, Shengelia, and three people sitting on the bench went to the locker room. At the end of the match, the police were in front of our locker room. Supposedly they were protecting us but they pushed us all the time. We were going to hit each other with our fists”.
As assistant coach Hakan Demir who attended the press conference, because coach Ergin Ataman was also ejected at the end of the second overtime, added: “Today, the Georgian players and some security guards in the hallway disrespected us. We came here to play basketball, not for anything else. So everything should stay on the court, but unfortunately, a big scandal took place off the court. Such things do not suit the spirit of sports. A basketball game was supposed to be played today, but unfortunately what happened went beyond basketball. We have two more games left in Georgia and, unfortunately, what happened in the corridors today was against the spirit of the sport. We expected a more gentlemanly treatment, but unfortunately, it did not happen.
There was a basketball game with two overtimes on the court. Sometimes we played well and sometimes Georgia played well, but after our player, Furkan Korkmaz, was disqualified, three opposing team players attacked him in the corridors, while security guards attacked our player and our trainer. We came here to play basketball, not box. Therefore, we are very disturbed by the security weakness experienced today. We will follow up on this issue as well”.
On top of that, Turkey officially protested the result of the game, because 22 seconds were mysteriously “lost” from the game clock during the altercation between Korkmaz and Sanadze.
As Demir explained: “Today the game was 22 seconds shorter. The fact that this is not just 1 or 2 seconds but 22 makes us think that the situation is not just an error. We will follow this as well. We came to Georgia expecting to be in a sister country. Yes, there was tension between the players on the court today, but it is not possible for us to accept what happened afterward. Players can have tension with each other on the court, but they are friends off the court. It is very sad that the security guards are also involved in the incident today. Of course, Georgia won the match, I congratulate them too, but that’s not the point. What really matters is what happens in the corridors”.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL