Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkey's President says 'arena' to be removed from stadia names

"I am against 'arena'. Of course you know what they used to do in arenas in the past? They would let people be shred to pieces," Erdogan said during a speech in Istanbul.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "We are going to remove the word 'arena' from stadiums" play

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "We are going to remove the word 'arena' from stadiums"

(AFP)
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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday ordered the removal of the word 'arena' from sports stadia in Turkey because of its historical meaning, claiming it was a term foreign to the Turkish language.

"I am against 'arena'. Of course you know what they used to do in arenas in the past? They would let people be shred to pieces," Erdogan said during a speech in Istanbul.

"We are going to remove the word 'arena' from stadiums," the president said, adding he had given instructions for the removal to Sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic.

"What does arena mean? We don't have such a thing in our language," he said.

Erdogan then urged the audience to look at the "meaning and interpretation" of arena.

He was referring to ancient Roman games in which gladiators and wild animals entertained spectators including in the Colosseum in Rome.

Many condemned criminals would face wild animals in public executions in such arenas.

Earlier this week Erdogan referred to historic "European arenas" as he said past events in arenas meant using the term was "neither polite nor elegant".

He then stressed the need for Turkey to develop its own language.

Istanbul giants Besiktas and Galatasaray have arenas in their stadiums' names, often named after the sponsors.

Fenerbahce's basketball venue, home of last weekend's EuroLeague champions, is called the Ulker Sports Arena.

The Galatasaray venue is called Turk Telekom Arena on the European side of the city.

Besiktas opened its over 40,000 capacity Vodafone Arena stadium in April last year close to the Bosphorus also on the city's European side.

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