Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

“Uefa Probes Turkish Defender Merih Demiral Over Alleged Far-Right Salute During Euro 2024 Victory”

Turkey’s Merih Demiral is facing scrutiny from Uefa following his celebration during Turkey’s Euro 2024 match against Austria. The defender, who scored twice in Turkey’s 2-1 victory, sparked controversy by making a ‘wolf salute’ gesture after his second goal. This gesture is associated with the far-right extremist group Grey Wolves, linked to Turkey’s ruling coalition party, the National Movement Party.

In an interview, Demiral stated that the celebration was pre-planned and expressed pride in his Turkish identity. He defended his actions, stating, “I am very proud because I am a Turk, therefore after the goal I felt it deeply and I wanted to do it, and I am very happy about doing it.” He also posted a photo of the celebration on social media with a caption affirming his Turkish heritage.

However, Uefa has initiated an investigation under Article 31(4) for “alleged inappropriate behaviour.” This move comes amidst concerns over the symbolism of the ‘wolf salute’, which is prohibited in countries like Austria and France due to its association with extremism. If found guilty, Demiral could face fines or a suspension.

The incident has sparked controversy and drawn criticism from various quarters. German interior minister Nancy Faeser condemned the use of such symbols in stadiums, emphasizing that “the Euros should not be used to promote racism.” Meanwhile, National Movement Party chairman Devlet Bahceli defended Demiral, describing the gesture as a message of national pride. He criticized Uefa’s investigation as “ill-intentioned” and part of a broader provocation.

As Turkey prepares to face Netherlands in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals, the outcome of Uefa’s investigation will be closely watched, impacting Demiral’s participation in the upcoming match.

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