Turkish Footballer Banned for Grey Wolves Salute

Turkish Footballer Banned for Grey Wolves Salute

Turkey defender Merih Demiral will miss his team’s Euro 2024 quarter-final against the Netherlands after UEFA banned him for two games on Friday, July 5 for making a ultra-nationalist salute, a move Ankara blasted as “unfair and biased”, AFP reports.

Demiral scored both of Turkey’s goals in the 2-1 last-16 win over Austria on Tuesday and during celebrations for his second goal made a gesture associated with Turkish right-wing extremist group Grey Wolves.

UEFA said in a statement it was banning Demiral “for violating the basic rules of decent conduct, for using sports events for manifestations of a non-sporting nature and for bringing the sport of football into disrepute”.

Should Turkey overcome the Dutch on Saturday, Demiral would also miss the semi-final against England or Switzerland.

Turkey’s Sports Minister Osman Askin Bak claimed the ban was politically motivated and “unfair“.

Demiral has said his celebration was related to his “Turkish identity”.

His gesture has triggered a diplomatic row between Turkey and Euro 2024 host nation Germany, where an estimated three million Turks live.

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser warned “the symbols of Turkish right-wing extremists have no place in our stadiums”.

Turkey then summoned the German ambassador on Wednesday over politicians’ reactions to Demiral’s celebration.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend the quarter-final at theOlympiastadion in the German capital, which tens of thousands of Turks are expected to attend.

Erdogan himself has said Demiral was just “showing his excitement” and several ministers and the spokesman of his ruling AKP party have condemned Faeser’s reaction.

The Grey Wolves advocated radical ideas and used violence in the 1980s against leftist activists and ethnic minorities.

The group has been banned in Austria and France, but not in Germany.

Germany’s Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir said Wednesday “nothing about the wolf salute is hidden”.

Ozdemir, one of the most prominent German politicians with Turkish roots, said the symbol “stands for terror (and) fascism”.

The Grey Wolves were labelled “a terrorist organization” by the European Parliament in 2021 and “especially threatening for people with a Kurdish, Armenian, or Greek background and anyone they consider an opponent”.

Source: PANArmenian.net