Turkey’s Demiral suspended over ‘wolf’ gesture – DW – 07/05/2024

European football association UEFA on Friday suspended Turkish player Merih Demiral for two matches over a controversial political gesture.

Demiral made a wolf’s head shape with his fingers after scoring his second goal in a 2-1 win over Austria on Tuesday, a gesture associated with Turkey’s far-right.

What else do we know about the incident?

UEFA has imposed a sanction on Demiral “for failing to comply with the general rules of conduct, violating the basic rules of decent behaviour, using sporting events for events of a non-sporting nature and bringing football into disrepute.”

Demiral will miss Turkey’s match against the Netherlands on Saturday and a possible semi-final against England or Switzerland if Turkey wins.

Demiral said he only wanted to express that he is proud to be Turkish, there was no other message behind it.

Demiral posted an image of the celebration on the platform X, formerly Twitter, and said: “How happy is the one who says ‘I am a Turk’.”

Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz called the decision to ban Demiral unacceptable.

“The beauty and excitement of football should not be overshadowed by political decisions,” Yilmaz said in a post on X.

Turkish footballer’s ‘wolf salute’ sparks diplomatic row

This browser does not support the video element.

Demiral controversy causes diplomatic row

Turkey on Wednesday summoned the German ambassador to the carpet over politicians’ reactions to Demiral’s gesture.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry accused German authorities of “xenophobia”, citing a German intelligence report that said “not everyone who makes the gray wolf sign can be described as far-right”.

German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir, who himself has Turkish roots, said that “there is nothing hidden about the wolf salute” and added that it “stands for terror”. [and] fascism.”

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser warned that “symbols of Turkish far-right extremists have no place in our stadiums.”

Several ministers and the spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP party condemned Faeser’s response.

Erdogan will be present at the match between Turkey and the Netherlands this weekend.

The extremist group Gray Wolves used violence against left-wing people, but also against Kurds, Armenians, Greeks and other ethnic minority groups in the 1980s

The group is banned in Austria and France. In Germany it is not banned.

In 2021, the Grey Wolves were designated a terrorist organisation by the European Parliament.

sdi/kb (dpa, Reuters, AP, AFP)

Leave a Comment