Turkey condemns UEFA for military salute probe in football

Turkey condemns UEFA for military salute probe in football

ANKARA-Anadolu Agency
Turkey condemns UEFA for military salute probe in football

Turkey condemned European football's governing body UEFA on Nov. 7 for their discriminatory treatment of Turkish national team and clubs over celebratory salutes.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 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," Erdoğan 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".

Erdoğan 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.

Erdoğan 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.

'Terrorists broke pledge to leave N.Syria'

Erdoğan also said terror groups have still not withdrawn from northern Syrian territories falling under the area of Turkey's anti-terror operation.

"The pledge that the terror groups YPG/PYD, ISIL and PKK would withdraw from the region within 120 hours was not fulfilled," Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters in the capital Ankara before leaving for an official visit to Hungary to attend the 4th High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council Meeting.

He added that YPG/PKK terrorists continue to attack Turkey's local allies the Syrian National Army (SNA), violating the safe zone agreements there, and 11 SNA soldiers were killed on Nov. 7.

Erdoğan also stressed that Russia also did not keep its pledge that YPG/PKK terrorists would pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey's border with Syria within 150 hours as part of an Oct. 22 deal between Turkey and Russia.