Turkish football team's military salute to be 'examined' by UEFA

UEFA said Saturday they would examine reports that Turkey's national footballers gave a military salute in support of Ankara's armed offensive against Kurds in Syria.

"Personally, I have not seen this gesture, which could be considered a provocation," UEFA's media head Philip Townsend told the Italian news agency Ansa. "Does the regulation prohibit references to politics and religion? Yes, and I can guarantee you that we will look at this situation," he added.

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The salute was made after Cenk Tosun's winning goal against Albania in Istanbul on Friday.

After the victory, an additional photo was posted on the Turkish FA's official Twitter account, with the squad posing, saluting the win in the dressing room to "dedicate their victory to our brave soldiers and fellow martyrs."

Rules and previous

Article 16, 2 (e) of UEFA's disciplinary proceedings manual states "the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit a provocative message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly provocative messages that are of a political, ideological, religious or offensive nature."

During last year's World Cup, world governing body FIFA fined Swiss players Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Stephan Lichtsteiner for celebrating goals with a pro-Kosovo double eagle gesture, deemed to be flouting the rules as an unnecessary political gesture.

Turkish military action began on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump ordered troops to pull back from the border area of northern Syria.

On Saturday tens of thousands of Kurdish demonstrators marched through Cologne and other German cities against a Turkish cross-border military operation in northeast Syria. In addition, the German government promised to halt arms exports to Turkey.

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