Noise during the EuroBasket 2022 match between Turkey and Georgia allegedly drove the violence off the field in an incident involving 76-player striker Furkan Korkmaz.
A statement from Turkish Federation Vice President Omer Onan said Korkmaz, 25, was attacked by members of the Georgia basketball team as he walked into the locker room after he was kicked out of the game on Sunday. He claimed Korkmaz was attacked by players from Georgia who are not on the active roster as well as Duda Sanadze, who was also sent off during a field brawl in the fourth quarter, and the police. Onan also threatened that his team would boycott the rest of the tournament if the situation was not handled as he liked.
“There should be no attack on a player who goes to the locker room,” Oman said, At Eurohoops.net “At the end of the match, we pushed 30 cops into a fight. We got into a fight with the Georgia State Police. I’m calling FIBA and I told FIBA officials as well.
“No one fools themselves and they don’t think we are idiots. They will bring us all the camera footage from that lane minute by minute without missing anything. If those cameras don’t come to us, we will leave this tournament.”
The incident stemmed from Korkmaz’s entry into the matter with Sandzi after a fatal mistake. The two head-butted angrily before officials separated them and were promptly fired. Turkey coach Ergin Ataman was also expelled from the match.
Korkmaz said in a statement to each Basketnews.com that on his way back to the locker room with the coach, they saw three Georgian players along with two security personnel running towards them when the fight broke out.
We started throwing punches at each other. “Basically, that’s what happened,” Korkmaz said. It was like a street fight. There was no talking or conversation. People came towards us and tried to attack us. Of course, we responded and tried to defend ourselves.”
After the competition, assistant coach Hakan Demir also spoke about the incident near the locker room, saying that a “big scandal” occurred outside the stadium. His team has two games scheduled in Georgia.
“We came here to play basketball, not boxing,” Demir said. Therefore, we are very disturbed by the security vulnerability that we are witnessing today. We will pursue this matter as well.”
What makes the situation even more bizarre is that the game itself has been under official protest by Turkey. It claims 22 seconds went out of the clock while Korkmaz and Sandzi beat them, and Sandro Mamokilashvili of Georgia, who played a team ball at Seton Hall, ended up scoring with two seconds left. Georgia needed a second overtime to eventually win 88-83. The International Basketball Federation rejected Turkey’s protest.
Korkmaz was a first-round pick of 76 players in 2016 and averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds for them last season.