It was not the first time Merih Demiral was controversial

In his defense, he equates MHP’s ideology with Turkish pride. He has not just reacted to fans as he claimed, but he definitely knows what the gray wolf sign means. Unfortunately, some well-known journalists, in the heat of national pride, defend this sign usage.

Here is a curation: 

Merih Demiral has indeed been involved in previous controversial incidents:

  1. Military salute controversy (2019): Demiral was one of 16 Turkish players reprimanded in 2019 for making military-style salutes during matches. This occurred while Turkey was conducting a military offensive in Syria [9][5].
  2. Social media controversy (2019): On October 11, 2019, Demiral openly supported the Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria on Twitter. This post drew praise from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s supporters and criticism from many football fans, including those of Juventus (his club at the time). Some fans even called for disciplinary action or dismissal from the club [9].

  3. Euro 2024 “Wolf salute” incident: The most recent controversy involves Demiral making the “wolf salute” gesture after scoring a goal in the Euro 2024 match against Austria. This gesture is associated with the Turkish ultra-nationalist group Gray Wolves and has led to a UEFA investigation [1][2][3].

These incidents suggest a pattern of Demiral engaging in actions that have political or nationalist overtones, which have resulted in controversy and disciplinary measures in the past. His actions have often been defended as expressions of Turkish pride, but they have also been criticized as inappropriate for a sports context and potentially promoting extremist ideologies.

Citations:
1. CNN – Merih Demiral Celebration Controversy
2. Sportskeeda – Merih Demiral Investigation for Inappropriate Behaviour
3. Mirror – Merih Demiral Turkey Celebration Controversy
4. Inside the Games – UEFA’s Investigation of Merih Demiral
5. AP News – Merih Demiral Turkey UEFA Euro 2024
6. Euronews – UEFA Investigates Turkey’s Merih Demiral
7. Essanews – Euro 2024 Scandal: Merih Demiral’s Controversial Goal Celebration
8. Irish News – Turkey’s Merih Demiral Faces UEFA Probe
9. Wikipedia – Merih Demiral
10. Sportball24 – Merih Demiral Should Be Punished for Nationalist Gesture
11. Sportstar – Euro 2024: Merih Demiral’s Celebration Gesture
12. CNN – Merih Demiral Celebration Controversy
13. Sport Bible – UEFA Ban Euro 2024: Merih Demiral
14. BBC – Merih Demiral Celebration Controversy
15. Washington Post – Merih Demiral Turkey UEFA Euro 2024

UEFA did punish Merih Demiral for his “gray wolf” gesture during Turkey’s Euro 2024 match against Austria. Here are the key points:

  1. UEFA opened an investigation into Demiral’s gesture shortly after the match, citing “alleged inappropriate behavior” [3][11].
  • Multiple sources report that UEFA issued a two-match ban to Demiral for the controversial gesture [7][10].

  • The ban means Demiral will miss Turkey’s quarter-final match against the Netherlands and a potential semi-final if Turkey advances [7][10].

  • The “gray wolf” gesture is associated with the Turkish ultra-nationalist organization known as the Grey Wolves. It is considered a far-right extremist symbol in some European countries [2][5].

  • The gesture sparked diplomatic tensions, with Germany’s Interior Minister condemning it and Turkey summoning the German ambassador in response [5][6].

  • Turkey and Demiral defended the gesture as an expression of Turkish identity and culture, arguing it should not be seen as extremist [8][9].

  • The punishment appears to be more severe than those given for other controversial gestures at Euro 2024. For example, England’s Jude Bellingham was only expected to receive a fine for a different gesture [10].

  • In summary, UEFA did take disciplinary action against Merih Demiral for his “gray wolf” gesture, issuing a two-match ban that will significantly impact Turkey’s remaining Euro 2024 campaign.

    Citations:
    1. Goal – Turkey Blow Netherlands: Merih Demiral Euro 2024 Semi-Final
    2. iNews – Merih Demiral Grey Wolf Celebration Controversy
    3. Euronews – UEFA Investigates Turkey’s Merih Demiral for Ultra-Nationalist Salute
    4. Bolavip – UEFA to Punish Turkey’s Demiral for Controversial Euro 2024 Goal Celebration
    5. CTV News – Türkiye Summons German Ambassador to Protest Criticism of Gray Wolf Goal Celebration
    6. Politico – Berlin-Ankara Grey Wolves: Merih Demiral
    7. Greek City Times – UEFA Issues Two-Match Ban to Turkey’s Demiral for Controversial Gesture
    8. Anadolu Ajansı – UEFA Investigating Turkish Defender Merih Demiral’s Grey Wolves Sign
    9. TRT World – Türkiye Slams UEFA’s Investigation of Merih Demiral for Nationalist Salute
    10. Sport Bible – UEFA Ban Euro 2024: Merih Demiral
    11. The Guardian – Turkey’s Merih Demiral Facing Ban Over Wolf Celebration
    12. Anadolu Ajansı – UEFA Investigating Turkish Defender Merih Demiral’s Grey Wolves Salute
    13. Yahoo Sports – UEFA Investigates Turkey’s Merih Demiral
    14. Reddit – UEFA Suspends Demiral for 2 Games Due to His Grey Wolves Salute
    15. Firstpost – Euro 2024: Turkey’s Merih Demiral Wolf Salute

    The official reason given by UEFA for Merih Demiral’s suspension was “alleged inappropriate behavior” related to his “wolf salute” gesture during Turkey’s Euro 2024 match against Austria. This gesture is associated with the Grey Wolves, a far-right extremist group, and is considered provocative and inappropriate for a sports event. UEFA’s disciplinary proceedings manual, specifically Article 16, 2(e), prohibits “the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit a provocative message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly provocative messages that are of a political, ideological, religious or offensive nature” [1][3][4].

    Citations:
    1. Reuters – Turkey’s Demiral to Be Suspended Two Games Over Wolf Gesture
    2. Reddit – UEFA Suspends Demiral for 2 Games Due to His Grey Wolves Salute
    3. Sportskeeda – Merih Demiral Suspended by UEFA for Gesture
    4. Zartonk Media – UEFA Suspends Turkey’s Merih Demiral for Grey Wolves Salute
    5. NL Times – Turkey’s Demiral Suspended for Oranje Match for Extreme Right Salute
    6. Ekathimerini – Turkey’s Demiral to Be Suspended for Two Games Over Wolf Gesture
    7. Cyprus Mail – Turkey’s Demiral to Be Suspended for Two Games Over Wolf Gesture

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