Turkey's Belozoglu given suspended jail term for racist slur

Fenerbahce's Emre Belozoglu (L) fights for the ball with Galatasaray's Felipe Melo during their Turkish Super League derby soccer match at Turk Telekom Arena in Istanbul April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish footballer Emre Belozoglu was handed a two-month 15 days suspended jail sentence on Tuesday for a racist slur he used against Ivory Coast midfielder Didier Zokora during a match in 2012.

The court sentenced the Fenerbahce and Turkey national team midfielder on the grounds that the act constituted an insult crime of “religious, racist, ethnic, sexist or sectarian discrimination.”

The incident, in which Zokora accused Belozoglu of calling him the “N” word, occurred in April 2012 at a playoff match between Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor.

The sentence was suspended by the court as Belozoglu had not had any previous incidents of a racist nature, the judge said, and on belief that he would not repeat his behaviour.

Belozoglu was accused of racism three times during his three-year career at Newcastle United, but the English FA’s investigations failed to prove the accusations.

Belozoglu became the first Turkish footballer ever to have been handed a prison sentence for racism.

Zokora, in Brazil now for the World Cup, had previously played in England for Tottenham Hotspur.

Writing by Ece Toksabay; editing by Martyn Herman