United fans face police escorts and public transport ban in Instanbul
Manchester United travel to Istanbul on Thursday to take on Fenerbahce, with Jose Mourinho looking to get his side’s season back on track after three league games without a win.
But there are concerns off the pitch as well as on it, with fans set to get a police escort to the game amid security fears in Turkey.
The authorities are confident that the game will pass without incident, but with the historical issues English fans have faced in Turkey, tensions are running high.
Sportsmail tells you all you need to know about the situation…
Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff step out on the pitch at Fenerbahce’s stadium
What security measures are in place ahead of this evening’s game?
Manchester United’s supporters will be accompanied by a police konya escort as they travel to the stadium.
Buses will be laid on for supporters from 6pm with the emergency services flanking the United fans.
Why is there particular concern?
There is a history of problems for English football supporters in Turkey. Two Leeds United fans were killed ahead of a UEFA Cup semi-final against Besiktas in 2000. In 2014, two Chelsea fans were injured after being stabbed in Istanbul.
United arrived in Turkey on Wednesday, but their fans face a more difficult journey in Istanbul
Are there issues beside for hooliganism?
Yes, Turkey faced a military coup in July, as generals sought to take power from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The uprising was quashed, but CNN figures report that 161 civilians were killed, 1,140 wounded, 6,000 arrested and nearly 200 top Turkish court officials were put in custody.
Is Istanbul safe for supporters now?
The game is going ahead so presumably the authorities are confident the match can pass without incident.
Turkey, however, is in the midst of political uncertainty . There is also an increased terror threat.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced a military coup in July
In October, ten people were injured following a blast near Istanbul’s police station. In June, a gun and bomb attack at Ataturk airport killed 41 and injured 230.
United supporters have been discouraged from using public transport. Sportsmail caught a taxi on Thursday before three separate Metros on the two hour voyage from the airport to the area surrounding the Fenerbahce stadium.
Police are stopping both citizens and visitors with high frequency at every station, and body searches and identity checks are also taking place.
The game is going ahead with the authorities confident the match can pass without incident
So it’s safe for football – but not for golf….?
World No 3 Rory McIlroy last week provoked controversy when he withdrew from the Turkish Airlines Open due to concerns over security, following rocket attacks in Antalya.
‘It was weighing on my mind and I slept a lot better knowing that I’d made a decision,’ McIlroy, 27, said.
Other stars such as American Patrick Reed have pulled out but the competition is still going ahead. Irish golfer Padraig Harrington says there is a ‘lot of scaremongering’.
Golf star Rory McIlroy withdrew from the Turkish Airlines Open over security concerns