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Ankara slams threats against Turkish natl basketball coach Ataman

Turkish officials in the capital Ankara condemned on Friday alleged threats against the Turkish national basketball team and Panathinaikos Athens coach Ergin Ataman.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman and Party Spokesperson Ömer Çelik condemned the aggression toward Ataman in a statement posted on his social media account.

“We strongly condemn the aggression towards Mr. Ergin Ataman, the head coach of our national basketball team and a valuable member of our sports community. We support our coach Ergin, who represents our country with success, against all forms of aggression.”

Youth and Sports Minister Osman Aşkın Bak also commented on the matter, saying: “Ergin Ataman is the head coach of our national basketball team and a valuable sports figure representing our country. We are proud of his achievements, and we stand by our coach, who expresses his love for his country wherever he goes.”

Earlier Thursday, Panathinaikos Athens’ coach Ataman accused a member of Maccabi Tel Aviv staff of hurling threats at him following Game 2 of the EuroLeague playoffs.

Ataman recounted the alleged incident, revealing, “When I was going to the locker room, somebody from the Maccabi staff – I don’t know who, he was without accreditation – told me ‘You’ll see in Israel, you’ll see what the Zionists will do to you.’”

The Turkish coach, however, remained resolute, saying: “Hey come on, I’m Ergin Ataman. I’m the coach of Panathinaikos. I’m the coach of the Turkish national team. I’m a Turkish citizen. You can’t do nothing.”

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