Barcelona’s Arda Turan fires back at football federation, calls attack on journalist an ‘honorable mistake’
Mehmet Arslan – ISTANBUL
AA photoBarcelona midfielder Arda Turan has defended himself after his physical and verbal assault on a sports journalist, which led to his dismissal from the Turkish national squad, as an “honorable mistake.”
Turan was kicked out of the Turkish national team squad earlier on June 6, one day after verbally and physically assaulting daily Milliyet’s Bilal Meşe on a plane carrying the national team from Macedonia’s Skopje to Italy’s Trieste. The midfielder subsequently announced that he was retiring from international football in the wake of the incident.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet three days after the incident, Turan said he made an “honorable mistake” by attacking Meşe.
“Mine is an honorable mistake. But the other sides’ was a dishonorable mistake. I did not talk behind anyone’s back, I shouted in their face. After the incident I told [Turkish Football Federation head] Yıldırım Demirören on the phone that I was angry and did not mean to curse at him. He replied: ‘Apologize and we will solve it.’ But I chose to leave rather than act like that,” Turan added.
He also said he did not apologize to coach Fatih Terim, claiming that Terim had “thrown the players to the media.”
The attack took place late on June 5 when Turan approached Meşe before the plane took off, and started shouting at him.
“Tell me Bilal Meşe, were you there? Were you with us when you wrote about the bonuses issue? Who did I ask for money from? Who did ask I for bonuses from? Talk. Come on. Who made you write those reports?” Turan reportedly shouted at Meşe, referring to stories widely reported in the Turkish media during the national team’s troubled European Championships last year, in which Turkey failed to advance from its group with two losses in three games.
Reports suggested there was major disharmony in the team at the time, stemming from a rift between the squad, led by team captain Turan and coach Terim, and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) over the level of bonuses paid to players for participating in the championship.