Scandal on wolf greeting: Erdoğan travels to European championships in Berlin

The European Championship quarter-final in Berlin is turning into a political arena after Turkish player Demirel’s wolf salute celebration was heavily criticized. Erdogan flies to the German capital at short notice for Saturday’s game against the Netherlands. He canceled his planned trip to Azerbaijan, dpa learned from informed sources.

This is reportedly a reaction to the debate in Germany. Turkish media reported that Erdogan wanted to strengthen the Turkish team’s support with his visit. Both the countries had previously invited the respective ambassadors of the other country. Such an invitation is considered a powerful diplomatic tool.

Ambassadors of both countries were summoned

“We discussed the incident with the Turkish ambassador in Berlin today,” a foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday. As the hosts of the European Championship, “We want to bring sports people together,” Ministry X wrote on Twitter. German Interior Minister Nancy Pfizer said: “Symbols of Turkish right-wing extremists have no place in our stadiums, however, Demiral received support from his own country.

AP/Ebrahim Noroozi

The wolf salute shown during Cole’s celebration backfires on Demiral

Demirel made the “Grey Wolves” sign and symbol with both hands after his second goal in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Austria. Supporters of the right-wing extremist Ülkücü movement are known as the “Grey Wolves”, monitored by the Federal Office for the Defense of the Constitution in Germany. With 18,500 members, it is Germany’s largest right-wing extremist organization. Some parties are insisting that this should be banned.

In Turkey, the ultranationalist MHP is its political representative and an ally of Erdogan’s Islamic conservative AKP. The German ambassador had already been summoned on Wednesday. Demiral had said that the gesture only meant to express his pride in being Turkish and that there was no hidden message in it.

“Bild”: Demirel suspended for two games

According to “Bild” newspaper, the European Football Union (UEFA) has now suspended Demiral for two European Championship matches. However, the Turkish media reported that the Turkish association had not yet decided on the case. UEFA initially declined to comment on Thursday evening.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry launched an investigation into Demiral on Wednesday that it described as unacceptable. Not every person displaying the “Grey Wolves” sign can be described as a right-wing extremist, it said. Wolf worship is not banned in Germany and the reactions of the German authorities are “xenophobia”. Devlet Bahceli, leader of the ultranationalist MHP, described the investigation as a “provocation”.

Debate on Erdogan’s visit

Ali Erden Tobrak, head of the Kurdish community in Germany, called on the federal government not to give Erdogan “a big platform” during his planned visit to Turkey’s quarter-final match at the European football championships in Berlin. “The autocrats should stay at home,” he told Editorial Network Germany (RND). Dobrak fears the visit will “revive Turkish nationalism in stadiums and on the streets”.

Gökay Sofuoglu, head of the Turkish community in Germany, has no reason to criticize Erdogan’s visit to the European Championship. “If Erdogan wants to come to Berlin, he should,” Sofuoglu told RND. “There is no reason to be upset. Other presidents and kings also come to their teams’ games. When Viktor Orbán came to the Hungarian team’s game in Stuttgart, no one was upset.

Stefan Heck, a CDU domestic politician, criticized Erdogan’s visit as meddling in Germany’s domestic affairs. He told TV channel Welt that visiting the European Championship match between Turkey and the Netherlands was a “clear provocation”. “You have to assume that Mr. Erdogan did not come to Berlin for sporting reasons.” Christoph de Vries, a CTU politician, insisted: “Nothing justifies the display of right-wing extremist symbols like football and fascism.”

Green Party member Kasem Taher Saleh explained that anyone spreading wolf worship on the pitch “has not only lost respect for the game, but basically for the people”. UEFA must take immediate action. “It is completely unacceptable to abuse the stage of the European football championship by displaying right-wing extremist symbols and expressing racist views,” said Dirk-Ulrich Mende from the SPD.

Call the ban

Coalition parties Sahra Wagonknecht (BSW) and Die Linke called for a ban on “grey wolves”. “Grey wolves” are outright banned in many EU countries. “Only the federal government looks the other way and doesn’t want to recognize the problem,” Katina Schubert, the left’s federal executive director, told “Tagesspiegel”. Sevim Dagdelen, foreign policy spokesman for the BSW group in the Bundestag, said: “Interior Minister Pfizer and the traffic lights must not complain and finally act and ban ‘gray wolves’, including the wolf salute, which is what our movement calls for. To do.”

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