Merih Demiral suspended for two matches after gesture linked to Turkish far-right

Merih Demiral suspended for two matches after gesture linked to Turkish far-right
Merih Demiral suspended for two matches after gesture linked to Turkish far-right

Turkish defender Merih Demiral has been suspended for the next two matches, UEFA has announced, following his gesture that symbolised the far-right.

Turkey defender Merih Demiral, who was behind a controversial celebration during the Euro 2024 round of 16 match against Austria, has been banned for two matches, UEFA announced on Friday.

The player made the rallying gesture for the “Grey Wolves”, a Turkish far-right group, after scoring one of his two goals against the Austrians.

Demiral was suspended “for failure to respect the general principles of conduct, for breaching the fundamental rules of good conduct, for using sporting events for non-sporting events and for bringing football into disrepute,” UEFA said.

He will therefore be deprived of the Euro quarter-final against the Netherlands on Saturday in Berlin, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided to attend.

Demiral’s gesture has sparked diplomatic tensions between Turkey and Germany. Turkey summoned the German ambassador to Ankara on Wednesday to protest comments by German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who had called the player’s celebration “unacceptable».

Germany responded the next day by summoning the Turkish ambassador to Berlin.

President Erdogan has not reacted directly to the controversy, but several ministries and the spokesperson for his party (AKP, Islamic-conservative) have denounced the UEFA investigation and the reaction of the German minister.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has notably vilified “politically motivated reactions» et «xenophobic attitudes of the German authorities towards Mr Demiral».

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