Turkey Player Banned for Ultra-Nationalist Salute Against Austria

Turkey Player Banned for Ultra-Nationalist Salute Against Austria

Turkey defender Merih Demiral during the side’s game with Austria on July 2, AP ( via APA) Austria Presse Agentur/ASSOCIATED PRESS

European football’s governing body UEFA has banned Turkey’s Merih Demiral for two games after he appeared to make an ultra-nationalist salute during his country’s Euro 2024 victory against Austria, German newspaper Bild reported early on Friday.

Demiral, who plays for Saudi side Al-Ahli, scored twice in Turkey’s 2-1 win on Tuesday, setting up a quarter-final match with the Netherlands.

Read more: Austria’s Euro Dreams Dashed by Determined Turkey

The defender celebrated with a “wolf salute,” a gesture linked to the far-right extremist group Grey Wolves, associated with Turkey’s ruling coalition party National Movement Party.

The salute, banned in Austria and France but not in Germany, drew condemnation from the German team and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. UEFA subsequently placed Demiral under investigation.

In response, Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador in Ankara, prompting reciprocal action from Germany.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to fly to Berlin on Saturday to attend Turkey’s game against the Netherlands.

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