Political Unrest Stops Beyoncé Show

Border skirmishes with Kurdish separatists, political wrangles with Iraq and the subsequent demonstrations in the streets of Istanbul caused top sports club Fenerbahce to cancel a centenary celebration concert featuring Beyoncé.

The club made the decision to pull the October 24 show at the 50,000-capacity Sükrü Saracoglu Stadium with only two days’ notice, after 12 Turkish soldiers were killed less than three miles from the Iraqi border.

News reports said an estimated 200 guerrillas – the largest single group to attack a Turkish unit in years – opened fire on an infantry company near the village of Daglica.

The Turkish army responded by shelling 63 suspected positions and, backed by helicopter gunships, killed 32 of their attackers. The government repeated its threats to cross the rugged frontier and root out the rest of the rebels.

They were from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which claimed that its guerrillas had also captured "a number" of Turkish soldiers.

Eight soldiers were missing, according to reports on NTV television. For the next three days, anti-PKK protesters staged flag-waving demonstrations in the streets of central Istanbul.

The sports club – based in the city’s Kadiköy district – posted a message on its Web site saying, “Following recent unsettling events in Turkey, Fenerbahce has canceled its centenary celebratory event which was planned as a stadium concert to be performed by the worldwide star Beyoncé in Istanbul on Wednesday.

"The club expresses its condolences to the country. We also express our gratitude to Beyoncé Knowles for her understanding that we are left with no alternative but to reschedule the concert to a more appropriate time."

The sports club, which is best known for the soccer team that won last year’s Turkish league championship and regularly qualifies for European competitions, posted another note saying, "As the directors of Fenerbahce Sport Club, we curse this violence caused by the terrorists.

"In these difficult times we deeply share the sorrow of the Turkish people. This deep sorrow became the reason for us to cancel the Beyoncé Knowles concert on Wednesday."

The club has spent a lot of time and money preparing for its centenary.

The football stadium, which was originally built in 1908, was renovated between 1999 and 2006.

All four stands were demolished and rebuilt one by one, making it the first stadium in Turkey designed according to official football regulations and standards.

In October 2006, after numerous inspections by UEFA – the organizing body for European soccer – it was selected to host the 2009 UEFA Cup Final.