Rejoice like the Grey Wolves, storm the Turkish Demiral – Euro 2024

Rejoice like the Grey Wolves, storm the Turkish Demiral – Euro 2024

Join the index finger and thumb to form the eyes. The other fingers are raised to represent the wolf’s ears.

This is how Merih Demiral, the Turkish defender and former Atalanta and Juventus player, celebrated his second goal against Austria, a goal that allowed Vincenzo Montella’s team to fly to the quarter-finals of the European Championship.

But this gesture directed at the Turkish fans gathered in the Leipzig stadium could cost him a ban. In fact, the “wolf salute” has a political meaning, and UEFA, which bans political expression during its demonstrations, has opened an investigation. Demiral made the traditional salute of the “Grey Wolves,” a far-right, Turkish nationalist movement known, among other things, for its involvement in the attack on Pope John Paul II.

to know more ANSA Agency Euro 24: Austria 2-1 Turkey in the quarter-finals – Euro 2024 – The team coached by Vincenzo Montella will face the Netherlands on Saturday (ANSA).

The “political” salute, in addition to being prohibited under UEFA regulations, is banned in Austria, where members of the government have also intervened in the case, demanding exemplary sanctions for the footballer. “Symbols of the Turkish far-right have no place in our stadiums. Using the European Football Championship as a platform for racism is absolutely unacceptable,” said German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, calling on officials to intervene. The talk could lead to a diplomatic crisis: Ankara summons the German ambassador to Turkey. The Turkish Foreign Ministry stated that “this gesture is not prohibited in Germany,” denouncing German political positions as “xenophobic.”

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But in the meantime, UEFA has already taken action. The continental football body announced that “an investigation has been opened regarding the alleged inappropriate behaviour of the player”, adding that “further information in this regard will be provided in due course”. A ban is not ruled out but a fine is likely to be imposed on the player. For his part, Demiral expressed himself after the match, claiming the exclusively “patriotic” nature of the celebration: “I am happy that I did it to indicate Turkish identity – he explained – I did it because I am proud of it. As a Turk, I saw that the fans were doing it and I wanted to respond to them.” In fact, this is not the first time that the defender, who moved to Al-Ahly last year, has been reprimanded for gestures of a political nature: in 2019, his tweet in support of the Turkish military invasion of Syria to suppress Kurdish rebels sparked a debate . In Austria, the debate has opened up about the issue and politics in football. “We must move far away from right-wing ideas,” said national team striker Michael Gregoritsch.

Coach Ralf Rangnick has previously warned of the strengthening of right-wing extremism in Europe. At the European Championship, there were several political incidents caused by fans of different teams. For example, during the match against Poland, Austrian supporters held up a banner with the slogan “Defend Europe” of the far-right Identitarian movement. But in Germany, the song “L’Amour toujours” by Italian DJ Gigi D’Agostino was banned because German neo-Nazis changed the lyrics to “Germany for Germans, foreigners out”. Meanwhile, Leipzig police are investigating the fact that the same song was sung by Austrian fans during the match against Turkey.

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