Yıldırım testified to the İstanbul 16th High Criminal Court on Friday, when the court was also expected to decide on Yıldırım's request for release from jail pending trial. “The [match-fixing] indictment should have in fact been based on Trabzonspor,” Yıldırım said, accusing the rival team of being involved in match-fixing. The court decided late on Friday to reject the request for release of Yıldırım and nine other jailed suspects in the match-fixing investigation.
The chairman dismissed claims that his club reached an agreement with some players ahead of Fenerbahçe's matches against their teams, allegedly ensuring that those players not play against Fenerbahçe. He said his club did not agree to transfer any player to Fenerbahçe before facing their teams on the field. He said former Karabükspor striker Emmanuel Emenike and Eskişehir midfielder Sezer Öztürk were transferred at the end of the season.
“Those who transferred players before matches [with their teams] are not being tried, but we are being tried based on the accusation of match-fixing through transfers,” he said referring to Trabzonspor. Emenike and Sezer were also detained by police for two days in July, but were later released without charges.
The lawyer for Trabzonspor Chairman Sadri Şener responded to Yıldırım, saying the chairman can file a criminal complaint against Trabzonspor if he wants, but should respond to accusations directed against him. To which Yıldırım responded: “Look, Mr. Lawyer. We claim that we are not being tried for match-fixing here. If we were, we would be discussing other things here. We have never been involved in politics.”
Yıldırım said he never commented on politicians' remarks on the match-fixing case even when a minister said Trabzonspor deserved last year's championship. He was referring to remarks by a government minister in January that the government is engaged in “fine-tuning” efforts to award Trabzonspor last season's championship, a title that Fenerbahçe won.
“We are engaged in fine-tuning efforts to take the [championship] cup, which Trabzonspor deserved. We will, God willing, bring our Trabzonspor's cup to its museum,” Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar said in Trabzon, his hometown.
He also reiterated his earlier claim that the probe is an “operation” against him and Fenerbahçe. Yıldırım is the highest-profile suspect in a case that concerns claims that club officials and footballers were rigging games in the Spor Toto Super League, which ended in May with Fenerbahçe winning the trophy, as well as the Bank Asya League 1. The 93 suspects implicated in the case, including 23 who have been jailed pending trial, are facing prison terms ranging between nine months and 115 years.
The reading of a 401-page indictment -- according to which Yıldırım and Giresunspor Chairman Olgun Peker stand accused of establishing and running a criminal organization to generate illegal profits, committing fraud and match fixing -- was completed last month at hearings held at the İstanbul 16th High Criminal Court in Silivri.