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UEFA fines Turkey, reprimands players for military salutes

December 20, 2019 GMT
Fans of Turkey national soccer team wave flags during the Euro 2020 Group H qualifying soccer match between Turkey and Iceland in Istanbul, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (AP Photo)
Fans of Turkey national soccer team wave flags during the Euro 2020 Group H qualifying soccer match between Turkey and Iceland in Istanbul, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (AP Photo)

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has fined Turkey’s soccer federation and reprimanded more than 20 players for making military salutes at games in October during the country’s offensive in Syria.

The gestures were “inappropriate given the specific political context at the time,” UEFA said on Friday in announcing the rulings of its disciplinary committee.

National team players saluted to fans at European Championship qualifying games against France and Albania.

Players from İstanbul Başakşehir, including Brazil forward Robinho, also made salutes at a Europa League game.

UEFA said the players used the games for “manifestations of a non-sporting nature” in breach of rules prohibiting political statements in stadiums.

The 16 national team players reprimanded included Hakan Çalhanoğlu of AC Milan, Merih Demiral of Juventus, and Cenk Tosun of Everton.

UEFA ordered the Turkish federation to pay a 50,000 euros ($50,800) fine, which also related to crowd disturbances in Paris.

In the Europa League in October, İstanbul Başakşehir players made the salutes during a game against Austrian side Wolfsberger. Six players were reprimanded, including Robinho and Edin Visca, who is Bosnian.

The salutes were made in support of Turkish forces involved in the country’s invasion of Kurdish-held regions in northern Syria.

Turkey hosts this season’s Champions League final for UEFA in May in Istanbul.

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