Yüksel Koç / İstanbul, Oct 19 () - A court on Oct. 19 handed a 25-year jail term to one man over the killing of a Serbian basketball fan in Istanbul in 2014, while six other defendants were released.
The Bakırköy 15th High Criminal Court initially gave Kadri Aktaş a life sentence for the “voluntary manslaughter” of 25-year-old Red Star fan Marko Ivkovic, but later reduced the sentence to 25 years in jail for “good conduct” during the trial. Meanwhile, six defendants pending trial - identified as Yusuf Velioğlu, Volkan Sarı, Serhan Yücel Aydoğmuş, Gökhan Yıldız, Çağatay Hız and Atakan Bodan - were all released.
Ivkovic’s sister, Bojana Jankelic, told reporters after the hearing that she did not find the 25-year sentence satisfactory, vowing that she would never come back to Turkey again.
Ivkovic’s lawyer, Rufayi Taştan, also expressed his disappointment over the ruling, saying the murder marked a “serious blow to Turkey’s international image.” Taştan also vowed to appeal the decision.
Ivkovic was stabbed to death during clashes with Galatasaray supporters before the Turkish Airlines Euroleague match on Nov. 21, 2014 between Galatasaray Live Hospital and Serbian Red Star basketball teams. The incident caused uproar in Serbia and calls for revenge from some fan groups, while also creating concerns about future matches between Turkish and Serbian teams.
On July 6, Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor İbrahim Baytekin demanded that Aktaş be given 12 to 18 years in prison on charges of “murder upon baseless incitement,” while he demanded the acquittal of six other suspects.
The indictment prepared by the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, in which the Serbian Consulate General in Istanbul is involved as a plaintiff, stated that a group including the defendants had attacked Ivkovic and those around him after police suppressed the first clash. Aktaş then stabbed Ivkovic after the Serbian man punched him during the clashes, it added.