Following an altercation with three opposing players during a 2022 Eurobasket tournament game Sunday, Furkan Korkmaz offered comments explaining the events leading up to the incident.
The 76ers forward and Turkish national team member was reportedly attacked by players from the Georgian national team while walking to the locker room following Georgia’s 88–83 double overtime win over Turkey. The incident, which was confirmed by Turkish federation vice president Omer Onan, occurred in the aftermath of a heated exchange between Korkmaz and Georgia guard Duda Sanadze that led to both players being ejected late in the contest.
Korkmaz discussed the situation after the game and offered his account of the fight.
“When I was walking to the tunnel, our conditioning guy was with me. As soon as we walked out of the tunnel and were trying to reach the locker room, I saw three Georgian players alongside two security guys running at us. We started throwing punches at each other. That’s basically what happened,” Korkmaz said, according to BasketNews.com.
Onan provided a similar version of the story in his statement to reporters. Onan said Korkmaz was attacked by Sanadze, two other Georgian players “who were not on the active roster” and police while walking to the locker room with a trainer; the unidentified players were reported to be forwards Tornike Shengelia and Goga Bitadze, who currently plays for the Pacers, per Ismail Senol of BeIN Sports Turkey.
Korkmaz continued, “It was like a street fight. There was no talk or conversation. People just came at us and were trying to attack us. Of course, we reacted and tried to defend ourselves—exactly what we are going to do as men. I also think it’s a security problem. But I don’t know if it’s a security problem or if they just showed tolerance to their players.
“We understand that they’re at home, but this is unacceptable. What happens on the court is fine, but we should talk more about what happens off the court.”
Turkey assistant coach Hakan Demir also condemned the Georgian players after the game, telling reporters their team “came here to play basketball, not box,” per EuroHoops.net. Turkey also protested the game, claiming 22 seconds ran off the clock during the on-court scuffle. Additionally, Onan has since threatened that Turkey could leave the tournament if the security footage from the off-court incident is not provided.
After announcing Turkey’s objection to the clock ruling had been dismissed, FIBA issued a statement Monday night confirming an investigation has been launched into the matter.
“Regarding the allegations from both federations in relation to actions in the team areas of the venue, involving players and delegation members from both teams, an investigation is currently ongoing,” the FIBA statement reads. “Once the investigation is concluded, the competent FIBA bodies will decide on any applicable disciplinary measures.”
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