Turkish fans were said to have whistled and shouted "Allahu akbar" (God is great) during a moment of silence for the Paris attacks during a Turkey-Greece friendly football match.

The Daily Mail reports on the issue:

Loud jeering is audible as players from both sides stood silently in the centre circle before kick-off, with reported shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' - the Islamic phrase meaning 'God is greater' - filtering through the stands.

After the match Turkey manager Fatih Terim was quoted as saying: 'Our fans should have behaved during the national anthems and during the one minute silence.

'Greece is our neighbour. Today is world neighbours day, but our fans didn't behave like neighbours in this match.'

NY Daily News also reported on the incident:

If you were under the impression the whole world stands behind Paris, think again.

Before a Turkey-Greece men's soccer friendly in Istanbul on Tuesday, some Turkish supporters booed and chanted "Allahu Akbar" - an Islamic phrase meaning "God is great" - during a scheduled moment of silence for the Paris terrorist attack victims, according to an Ankara-based Reuters correspondent.

The shouting can be heard on video, which apparently also includes the chants of "Allahu Akbar" after the two-minute mark.

A video of the incident was also linked to, but I was unable to hear anything other than the whistling and vague chanting (which did not sound like "Allahu akbar".)

Did the Turkish football fans at the match chant "Allahu akbar" in any significant unison during the moment of silence?

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    They're not chanting "Allahu akbar" as I can hear, and a great portion of the public would not chant "Allahu akbar" in general, it is not popular. Nevertheless, this changes the ridicule of the situation, they are chanting "Şehitler ölmez, vatan bölünmez.", which can be translated as "Martyrs shall not die, the homeland shall not be divided." As most terrorist attacks target the military bases in Turkey, this slogan has been a way to react to terrorist attacks.
    – Emre
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 21:58
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    @Emre - that is some excellent information I'm not sure I would have ever received anywhere else (the actual chants and the context). Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 15:05
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    Regardless of what was said, can a handful people yelling stuff out be interpreted as the crowd chanting? Any time you get a "moment of silence" at US sports events, you often get drunken idiots yelling out stuff. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 15:07
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    I believe that's just a cultural difference, I can't see Turks taking silence to protest terrorism in general. I should've also underline that most of the terror attacks in Turkey are made by separatist organizations, so the part about the homeland means more like "Terrorists will not reach their goal." in my opinion. Because of all that, terror causes a somehow fanatic nationalist reaction, rather than a humanist one in Turkey.
    – Emre
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


According to Le Monde, a French daily newspaper and one of the most important and widely respected newspapers in Europe, the response is yes: watch the video (shorter than that of the Daily News) and listen from 0:18 to 0:28.

I translated a part of the article:

We don't know if this hostility was directed towards the Greek prime minister or the victims of November 13th Paris terrorist attack or both. "Allahu Akbar" is usually chanted by Turkish patriots when a soldier (called « martyr ») is killed by the PKK rebels.

Because of renewed hosilities between PKK and the Turkish army since July, this type of motto made a strong comeback in the streets and stadiums. On October 13th, a qualifying soccer game for UEFA Euro 2016 was played in Konya (a conservative city of Central Anatolia) and "Allahu Akbar" shouts rang out from the stadium stands. These shouts broke the moment of silence in memory of the 102 victims (all activists of pro-Kurdish political left) of the double suicide bombing that occured in Ankara 3 days earlier.

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    I don't know how significant it is, but that was a different moment of silence. That was more an internal thing than support of IS. Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 8:30
  • -1 your answer validates the absurd claims made by DailyMail such as "[turks] voicing their dissent towards tributes for the 129 victims [of Paris attacks]" Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 8:05

The source of this claim is this tweet by Ankara based Reuters corespondent Ece Toksabay who wrote:

Istanbul fans boo minute of silence for Paris attacks, chant "Allahu akbar" before Turkey vs Greece soccer friendly

[But Reuters didn't publish any report based on the tweet above.]

Further, according to this deadspin.com report and this The Blaze report, Turkish fans did chant "Allahu Akbar". But the reports you have cited have misrepresented the event. The DailyMail report you cited says in its body:

Chants of 'Allahu Akbar' were reportedly heard in Istanbul as some Turkey fans shamefully booed a pre-match minute's silence for the victims of the Paris attacks.

The friendly itself against Greece was largely forgettable as the action finished 0-0 at the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium.

But the game was tarnished before it even started as a video emerged suggesting some of the Turkish faithful were voicing their dissent towards tributes for the 129 victims who were killed in last Friday's atrocities in Paris.

The above paragraph is nothing more than speculation. The second article starts with an emotional line: "If you were under the impression the whole world stands behind Paris, think again." Which is also speculation and presumes that Turks who chanted somehow support the Paris attack. No evidence for these speculations are provided by the authors of these misleading articles.

Furthermore, according to this article by Washingtonpost.com, this is not the first time Turkish fans chanted during a moment of silence. They did the same during the moment of silence held for the victims of the attacks in Turkey’s capital of Ankara in October, 2015.

Turkish soccer fans disrupted a moment of silence honoring the victims of the Paris attacks before their team drew, 0-0, against Greece in a friendly on Wednesday.

This is at least the second time this year that Turkish fans have whistled and chanted through a moment of silence honoring victims who died in terror attacks. In October, a group of fans disrupted a moment of silence before Turkey beat Iceland, 1-0, in a Euro 2016 qualifier. The moment of silence was held for the victims of the attacks in the country’s capital of Ankara in October.

In both situations, the Turkish team did not join the cacophony and instead mostly bowed their heads to observe the moment.

The chanting was not meant to be a show of disrespect for the victims, however, says Ahmed Bedier, a frequent media commentator on Islamic issues.

“Fans were chanting a popular Turkish chant against terrorism,” he said via his Facebook page. “It has become common practice for Turkish fans to chant during moments of silence [to] honor the victims.”

The wasingtonpost article sounds more convincing and as Emre has said, this seems to be "a cultural difference".

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    You don't seem very unbiased yourself, considering the excessive levels of editorialising. This answer can be greatly improved by focusing on the issue at hand.
    – March Ho
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 23:48
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    It would be very interesting if this was a case of culture-clash, where one side thought they were honouring victims by a moment of silence, and the other side innocently thought they were honouring the victims by chanting religious chants that were being misinterpreted as political slogans aligned with the terrorists. However, it is unclear why we should accept Ahmed Bedier's word that this is the case.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 5:02
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    @Oddthinking His wiki entry says: "Ahmed Bedier is a Florida-based community organizer, speaker and media commentator, who is widely recognized as an expert on Islamic issues. He is a sought-after participant in discussions of this topic, and often asked to present commentary or participate as a panelist on CNN, Fox News Channel, NBC and MSNBC. USA Today,[1] The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Sun and Time magazine have carried articles about him and by him." -- I would trust him over daily mail's not so reputable reporter. Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 6:05
  • @MarchHo Post updated. Thanks for the comment. Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 6:14

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