Turkey slams UEFA for military salute probe in football


Turkey condemned European football’s governing body UEFA on Thursday for their discriminatory treatment of Turkish national team and clubs over celebratory salutes.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a news conference in the Turkish capital Ankara that UEFA should be aware of this wrongdoing.

“When it comes to Turkey and Turkish athletes, the attitude [of UEFA] changes,” Erdogan said, adding that Europe’s football body should not let sports be politicized with their wrong decisions.

He said that the UEFA action targeting Turkish athletes’ solidarity with the Turkish army means “an obvious unlawfulness” as it described these celebrations “provocative political behavior”.

Erdogan added that Turkish athletes representing their country abroad faced a “systematical lynch campaign” since the launch of Turkey’s cross border anti-terror operation dubbed Peace Spring.

Turkish players in all sports especially football have been celebrating by a salute in tribute to the Turkish soldiers engaged on the frontline.

The Operation Peace Spring, launched on Oct. 9, aims to eliminate terrorist YPG/PKK elements from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Erdogan also referred to French football star Antoine Griezmann’s celebratory salute at French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow after Les Bleus’ (The Blues) success in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The Barcelona forward faced no UEFA probe.

In October, UEFA launched an inquiry after the EURO 2020 qualifiers in Istanbul and France where Turkish players gave military-style salutes in celebration of goals.

This probe was requested by France.
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