Israeli footballer detained, sacked from Turkish club over ‘ugly gesture’
Antalyaspor’s Israeli player Sagiv Jehezkel was detained for questioning after he displayed solidarity with people held hostage by the Hamas militant organisation during a top-flight league game.
Antalyaspor also suspended Jehezkel from the team and announced that it was speaking to the club’s lawyers about the possibility of terminating his contract.
Turkey Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said on Sunday the Israeli international is under investigation over possible charges of “openly inciting the public to hatred and hostility”. Tunc maintained in a statement posted on X that Jehezkel had engaged in “an ugly gesture in support of the Israeli massacre in Gaza”.
After scoring an equaliser against Trabzonspor during a home game, the 28-year-old Israeli player displayed a bandage around his wrist with an inscription marking the 100 days since the hostages were abducted on 7 October.
Turkish authorities say the gesture was deemed to be provocative in Turkey where there is widespread public opposition to Israel’s military actions in Gaza and overwhelming support for the Palestinians.
The Turkish Football Federation condemned what it said was a gesture that “disturbed the conscience” of the Turkish public.
Jehezkel’s detention, meanwhile, sparked outrage in Israel. “Shame on you, Turkish government,” Israeli former Prime Minister Naftali Bennet wrote on X.