Serbia expressed outrage on Saturday after a Red Star Belgrade basketball fan was stabbed to death in Istanbul.
Each side gave differing accounts of events that led to the death of 25-year-old Marko Ivkovic who was stabbed in the heart during a brawl between Turkish and Serbian fans on Friday night.
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic voiced “outrage over the monstrous murder”, a government statement said. Serbia demands that the perpetrator be urgently “found, arrested and most severely punished”.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called Vucic to voice regret and condolences over the death.
Davutoglu pledged Turkish authorities would do everything to find the perpetrator.
But in a sign of the tensions caused, Vucic said Galatasaray coach Ergin Ataman was not welcome in Serbia after “accusing the killed young man and all other Red Star fans of terrorism”, the government statement said.
Ivkovic was caught in the centre of a fight between Red Star and Galatasaray club supporters, Turkey’s official Anatolia news agency said.
Turkish doctors battled for five hours, but the man eventually died of massive bleeding, the Serbian consul in Istanbul Zoran Markovic told Serbia’s official Tanjug news agency.
The two sides disputed a Euroleague match which Galatasaray won 110-103. But many fans were left outside with no tickets.
Nebojsa Covic, the Red Star president, blamed Turkish organisers and police for the first spectator violence fatality in the Euroleague.
“The organisation of this game was a shame; the behaviour of the (Turkish) police was a shame. They knew perfectly what might happen,” he said in comments published by Serbian media.
He said there were vacant seats in the stadium and claimed the Turkish club and police had said it was a sellout when they discovered more Serbian fans were coming.
Tanjug said Galatasaray fans attacked some 400 Red Star supporters who had no tickets. Stones and flares were thrown in the battle.
The Turkish club said the fight was started by Red Star fans and expressed “deep sorrow” over the death.
“We are of the opinion that this judicial case has nothing to do with Galatasaray Sports Club or its supporters,” Galatasaray said in a statement.
“We want to emphasise once more that violence overshadowing the basic goal of sports is unacceptable no matter where it comes from,” it added.
Istanbul police said security forces had stood between the rival fans to keep them apart.
“It is understood that one supporter was stabbed and killed while Red Star fans were being escorted away from the venue,” said a police statement.
Euroleague Basketball condemned the “senseless violence” in which Ivkovic died.
“This tragedy offends the true spirit of sports,” Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball president, said in a statement.
“Violence has no place in our game, at our arenas or anywhere near them,” he added.
Euroleague said it had requested both clubs and Turkish authorities make available all information about the incident and would evaluate any measures to be taken.