Shock in Turkey after unprecedented attack against football team
ANKARA - A bus carrying Turkey's Fenerbahce football team was attacked on a highway in the country's northeast Saturday as the players were returning from an away game, the club said, adding that the driver was injured in the shooting.
Several gunshots were fired at the bus as the Turkish league leaders were returning to Istanbul having beaten Rizespor 5-1 in the Black Sea city of Rize, said the club's vice president Mahmut Uslu.
The driver was injured in the face and taken to hospital, said Uslu, who was himself on the bus at the time. He accused the attackers of trying to "crash the bus and kill the players".
"It's unbelievable," he told Turkish television.
None of the players was injured in the attack, which happened in the city of Trabzon.
Pictures of the bus showed a windshield pocked by bullet holes.
Trabzon governor Abdil Celil Oz confirmed the gun attack on the bus and said the driver's life was not in danger.
"At first we thought stones had been thrown at the bus but forensic investigators at the scene have concluded it was an armed attack," he told the television station 360.
The governor said he had received a phone call from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a supporter of the Istanbul club, asking him about the investigation into the attack.
The Turkish Football Federation issued a statement condemning the incident "in the strongest possible terms" and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice "immediately".
Turkish media reacted with shock to the shooting, an unprecedented attack on a club in the football-mad country.
The top football club Fenerbahce Istanbul called Sunday for the suspension of the national league championship.
"We consider that as long as this attack is not solved in a way that satisfies Fenerbahce and public opinion, a suspension of the championship is inevitable," the club said on its website.
"Blood ran and football was silenced. Finding and punishing the culprits is of vital importance for Fenerbahce."
It was "a cowardly and inhuman" attack," Sports Minister Cagatay Kilic said.