In a recent Turkish Süper Lig match in Antalya, Israeli player Sagiv Jehezkel of Bitexen Antalyaspor sparked controversy with his goal celebration against Trabzonspor. Jehezkel, after scoring the equalizing goal, displayed a wristband inscribed with “100th day of the October 7 attack” and a Star of David, drawing significant backlash from fans and critics.
Jehezkel’s action, which was shared by Antalyaspor’s management on social media, was seen as a direct challenge to the Muslim majority in the country. İbrahim Karagül, a government-aligned journalist, called for Jehezkel’s immediate expulsion from Turkey, labeling him a ‘Genocidal Murderer’ and accusing him of contaminating Turkish soil with his actions.
In response to the widespread criticism and in defense of national values, Antalyaspor announced that Jehezkel had been excluded from the squad. The club’s statement emphasized their commitment to respecting the country’s sensitivities, stating that they would not tolerate actions contrary to national values, even at the cost of championship or cup victories.
This incident underscores the ongoing tensions in Turkish football, where political and cultural expressions often intersect with the sport, leading to heated reactions from fans and authorities alike.