15 January 2024

Israeli footballer detained in Turkey over show of support for Gaza hostages

15 January 2024

Turkish authorities have detained Israeli footballer Sagiv Jehezkel for questioning after he displayed solidarity with people held hostage by Hamas during a top-flight league game.

The Israeli international, who plays for Antalyaspor, is under investigation over possible charges of “openly inciting the public to hatred and hostility”, justice minister Yilmaz Tunc said.

Mr Tunc said 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 October 7.

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.

Antalyaspor suspended Jehezkel from the team and announced that it was speaking to the club’s lawyers about the possibility of terminating his contract.

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.

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