Merih Demiral and the wolf salute: Media calls for ban for Euro 2024

Merih Demiral and the wolf salute: Media calls for ban for Euro 2024
Merih Demiral and the wolf salute: Media calls for ban for Euro 2024

Turkish defender Merih Demiral celebrates a goal against Austria with the right-wing extremist wolf salute. German newspapers comment on the gesture and the debate surrounding Demiral.

The celebration of a goal by a Turkish football player at the European Championships in Germany has caused diplomatic tensions between Berlin and Ankara. After criticism from the German government of the controversial wolf salute gesture by defender Merih Demiral in the round of 16 match against Austria, Turkey summoned the German ambassador on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office in Berlin confirmed this to the AFP news agency. She also announced that the incident would be “discussed” with the Turkish ambassador on Thursday, but gave no details.

And numerous media outlets are also dealing with the footballer’s gesture:

general newspaper

“Demiral’s wolf-joy casts a shadow over this European Championship. It is not the only incident of right-wing extremist propaganda at this European Championship – and it will probably not be the last. Racism and right-wing extremism are firmly anchored in European football culture. (…) It is tragic that this European Championship, which demonstrates diversity and tolerance to such an extent as hardly any other international tournament in recent years, is being exploited by fringe groups and individuals for their right-wing ideologies – but it is part of the sad reality. The European Championship is putting right-wing extremism in the spotlight in front of a global audience – albeit unintentionally.”

Frankfurter Rundschau

“It is the least that the European football association UEFA has initiated an investigation against Merih Demiral after he scored the goal for his Turkish national team in the European Championship round of 16 in Leipzig. ‘Wolf greeting’ the right-wing extremist and violence-glorifying ‘Grey Wolves’ But Demiral was not the only one. Already during the Turkish team’s preliminary round matches in Dortmund and Hamburg, several Turkish fans had seen the symbols of the ‘Grey Wolves’ whose symbols have been banned in Austria since 2019. In France, the Council of Ministers had decided to dissolve the ‘Grey Wolves’ 2020. Next Saturday, the Turkish national team will play against the Netherlands in the European Championship quarter-finals. The venue is the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, where the largest Turkish community in Germany lives. This game should also be an opportunity to send a signal. Against the ‘Grey Wolves’.”

Leipziger Volkszeitung

“What a shameful moment that overshadows all the joy of sporting success: Turkish double-goal scorer Merih Demiral showed the wolf salute in celebration. The hand sign is an identifying symbol of Turkish right-wing extremists, it stands for expulsion, violence and racism. UEFA should punish Demiral and ban him from the next matches of the tournament. More worrying than the wolf salute on the pitch, however, is that this hand sign is also shown again and again at German-Turkish fan celebrations and in the sometimes excessive car convoys. If there is to be no room for right-wing extremism in German cities, then the same must apply to the identifying symbols of Turkish fascists.”

The mirror

“You can hope for a certain political conviction in footballers, but here too, it cannot be forced. Footballers are just as left and right, apolitical and political, eloquent and taciturn, nationalistic and cosmopolitan, reflective and superficial as other people in society. And sometimes, unfortunately, racist and right-wing extremist. That is tolerable up to a certain point. As for Demiral’s gesture, it crosses that line.”

Stuttgart newspaper

“The times when the British writer George Orwell concluded that international matches were something like ‘was minus shooting’ (War without shots) are fortunately long over – but the furor has survived in some people’s minds. Even the longing for a second summer fairytale cannot disguise this. But the majority of peaceful fans who simply want to enjoy the sport, enjoy the excitement of the game and celebrate goals have a right to see people like Merih Demiral and his supporters shown the red card.”

Southgerman newspaper

“Merih Demiral could not have found a bigger stage for his gesture. One that everyone in Turkey is watching, across all camps. At midnight Turkish time, when the Turkish team had won, it was not just nationalists who were cheering. The whole country was euphoric, and the particularly euphoric ones stole the others’ sleep for hours with their honking. Football unites even the otherwise so divided Turkey, but the sport is not apolitical.”

EM 2024: "UEFA should punish and ban Demiral": This is what German media write about the wolf salute celebration

Historic lightning start: Türkiye surprisingly beats Austria – all highlights in the video

06:06 min

South Courier

“In terms of football law, there can only be one consequence in the Demiral case: a ban for the rest of the European Championship. There are enough comparable cases: The Croatian Josip Simunic was banned for ten games in 2013 for using the fascist Ustasha salute. The Frenchman Nicolas Anelka was banned for five games in 2014 for the Quenelle salute, a kind of reverse Hitler salute. And just in the preliminary round, an Albanian player was banned for anti-Serbian chants. Demiral’s Grey Wolves campaign is in no way inferior to this. Demiral is doing a disservice to all those German-Turks who celebrate the successes of their homeland ecstatically but completely peacefully. They must not be suspected of nationalism. It goes without saying, however, that in Germany in particular, not a single outgrowth of right-wing extremism can go unpunished, be it German or foreign. One can only hope that the corresponding statements by politicians on the subject of The ban on the wolf salute should not remain just lip service.”

Source: Stern

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