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Kremlin denies political context in failure of Fenerbahce FC fans to come to Moscow

February 25, 15:53 UTC+3 MINSK
According to earlier media reports, Fenerbahce FC fans did not come to Moscow for the match of their club allegedly over problems with obtaining Russian visas
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MINSK, February 25. /TASS/. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday there was no "political context" in the situation when Turkey’s Fenerbahce FC fans decided against traveling to Moscow for their club’s away game against Lokomotiv FC.

The second leg encounter of the UEFA Europa Cup’s Round of 32 between Lokomotiv and Fenerbahce is held on Thursday at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow starting at 7:00 p.m. Moscow time (16:00 GMT).

"I see no political context here," Peskov said adding that he received information about the situation from media reports.

"I did not check [this information] as I was unable and it was a report from our Consulate General’s Office in Istanbul, saying there were no visa applications from football fans," Peskov said.

The Russian presidential spokesman said that "it will make sense to launch an inquiry in case there were visa applications from football fans, but a mass denial followed in response."

"However, it is irrelevant to speak of some sort of crisis if there were no visa applications," Peskov added.

According to earlier media reports, Fenerbahce FC fans did not come to Moscow for the match of their club allegedly over problems with obtaining Russian visas.

Russian General Consul in Istanbul Andrei Podyeldyshev told TASS on Wednesday that there were no problems regarding issuance of visas for Turkish nationals going to Moscow for the football match.

"The club itself did not turn to us regarding visas for its fans," Podyeldyshev said. "The club turned to us regarding visas for the team’s players and journalists. They were all issued visas."

The Turkish Embassy in Moscow also told TASS on Wednesday that there were no problems registered by the diplomatic mission regarding the issuance of Russian visas for the team, coaching staff as well as Turkish law enforcers travelling to Moscow to assist their Russian colleagues during the match.

"Four law enforcers from the Turkish Interior Ministry are coming to Russia for the upcoming match and they were all granted [Russian] visas," a spokesman for the Turkish diplomatic mission in Moscow said in an interview with TASS. "All players and the club’s staff members were also issued visas and there were no problems at all."

"We have no information available about the club’s fans and their applications for Russian visas," the spokesman added.

The first leg match between both clubs was held February 16 in Turkey’s Istanbul with hosts beating the club from Moscow 2-0. Both goals were scored by Fenerbahce’s defensive midfielder Souza in the 18th and 72nd minutes of the match.

Unprecedented security measures were observed before, during and after the match in Istanbul in light of the recently strained ties between the governments of the two countries.

Only a single incident was reported during the event, when Fenerbahce’s fans hurled rocks at a bus carrying Lokomotiv’s fans.

The incident took place before the match, when the bus arrived at the stadium, but Turkish police, which provided escort for Russian fans, promptly thwarted the assault and detained three fans of Fenerbahce football club.

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