Turkey’s Demiral facing ban over far-right gesture at Euros

Merih Demiral celebrated his second goal against Austria with the ‘wolf’ symbol [Getty]

Turkish footballer Merih Demiral is facing a possible ban from his country’s upcoming Euro 2024 quarter-final clash after flashing a far-right gesture during Turkey’s 2-1 win over Austria on Tuesday.

Merih Demiral, who netted both of Turkey’s goals in the Round of 16 match, celebrated his second strike with a ‘wolf salute’, a hand gesture associated with the Grey Wolves group — a Turkish ultra-nationalist movement with a history of political violence.

After the game, UEFA issued a statement saying that it had launched an investigation.

“An investigation has been opened in accordance with Article 31(4) of the Uefa Disciplinary Regulations in relation to the alleged inappropriate behaviour of the Turkish Football Federation player, Merih Demiral. Further information regarding this matter will be made available in due course,” the statement read.

Demiral defended his actions, saying that the celebration was “connected to my Turkish identity”.

“I am incredibly proud to be Turkish, and I felt that pride deeply after scoring. I wanted to express that, and I’m very happy I did,” he said, adding that he saw Turkish fans in the stands making the same gesture. 

The gesture is not banned in Germany, this year’s Euros hosts, however Demiral’s actions drew condemnation from the country’s government.

“The symbols of Turkish right-wing extremists have no place in our stadiums,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on X.

“Using the European football championships as a platform for racism is completely unacceptable.”

Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir weighed in, saying on X that the symbol “stands for terror (and) fascism”.

In Turkey, the Grey Wolves are closely linked to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) of Devlet Bahceli which is allied with Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The Grey Wolves are regarded as the militant wing of the MHP and caused havoc on the streets in Turkey during the 1970s and 1980s, when its members frequently clashed with leftist activists.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *