Turkey fan march stopped due to wolf salute as Erdogan, Özil due

Berlin police have stopped a Turkey fan march before the Euro 2024 quarter-final, against the Netherlands on Saturday because many supporters gave the controversial wolf salute.

A fan march is ‘not a platform for political messages,’ the police announced on X.

In an apparently unrelated move, the two official Berlin fan zones at the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag were temporarily closed and evacuated ‘due to approaching storms and squalls,’ according to organizers.

Turks are angry after defender Merih Demiral, was banned for two games by tournament organizer UEFA for giving the wolf salute after his second goal in the 2-1 last-16 win over Austria.

UEFA has effectively deemed the gesture to have a far-right nature, after critics said it was against ethnic minorities in and around Turkey. But Turkish officials say it is nothing of the sort.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is due to arrive for the game shortly before kick-off, which could raise tensions further after he defended the gesture.

n plans to leave Berlin’s Olympic Stadium to return to Turkey the same evening, Erdogan’s office told dpa. No further appointments in Germany have so far been announced.

Erdogan has not yet commented on UEFA’s ban for defender Demiral.

The controversial wolf salute is attributed, among other things, to a far-right extremist movement. The movement known as ‘Ülkc’ or ‘grey wolves’ are linked to Erdogan’s political allies, the ultra-nationalist MHP in Turkey.

Erdogan dismissed criticism of the gesture, saying that the player had only expressed his ‘enthusiasm.’

Turkish broadcaster TRT described UEFA’s decision as a ‘scandal’ while the football federation head Mehmet Bykeksi called it ‘unacceptable, illegal and political’.

Certain Turkish football fan groups have called on fans to make the wolf salute in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium during the match, despite the fan march being stopped.

Former Germany player Mesut Özil stirred the pot further by sharing a photograph on Instagram of Demiral’s wolf salute, in a s
how of support for the Euro 2024 quarter-finalists.

He posted the photograph a few hours before the game, along with the caption ‘Come on Turkey!’. He then posted another story suggesting he is heading to the game.

Özil’s Germany career effectively ended after he was photographed with Erdogan in 2018, sparking a backlash in Germany about where the German-born Turk’s loyalties lay.

Source: Ghana News Agency