HomeNFLTurkey frees Israeli footballer detained over October 7 reference in match

Turkey frees Israeli footballer detained over October 7 reference in match


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Turkish court releases player, pending trial, after he displayed bandage reading ‘100 days. 07/10’ while celebrating scoring a goal.

A Turkish court has released pending trial an Israeli footballer who was detained after displaying a message apparently marking 100 days since Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7.

Sagiv Jehezkel, 28, displayed a bandage on his wrist reading “100 days. 07/10” next to the Star of David after scoring a goal for Antalyaspor against Trabzonspor during a match on Sunday.

Turkish authorities called the Antalyaspor club’s player for questioning after the incident and charged him with “openly inciting the public to hatred and hostility”, according to Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc.

In a post on X, Tunc said Jehezkel had engaged in “an ugly gesture in support of the Israeli massacre in Gaza”.

“We will continue to support the oppressed Palestinians,” he added, denouncing what he described as an ongoing “genocide” in Gaza.

NTV television reported that a private plane had been sent from Israel on Monday to pick up Jehezkel and his family so that they could return home.

In testimony to the police, Jehezkel said he “did not intend to provoke anyone”.

“I am not a pro-war person,” the private DHA news agency reported him as saying.

Jehezkel, capped eight times by the Israeli national team, celebrated scoring a goal against Trabsonspor by displaying the message on the bandage, believed to be a reference to Israel’s 100 days of war in Gaza and the captives held by Hamas in the coastal enclave.

On October 7, the Palestinian group launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, killing about 1,140 people and abducting 250 others, according to Israeli authorities.

Since then, a brutal Israeli military campaign has killed at least 24,100 Palestinians and wounded 60,834 others, while thousands of others remain trapped under the rubble.

Meanwhile, Antalyaspor said it had suspended Jehezkel, accusing him of having “acted against the values of our country”.

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) added: “We condemn the completely unacceptable behaviour of footballer Sagiv Jehezkel during the match between Antalyaspor and Trabzonspor played today (…) and find Antalyaspor’s decision to exclude the player from its team appropriate.”

Jehezkel’s brief detention also sparked outrage in Israel. “Shame on you, Turkish government,” former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet wrote on X.

Since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a longtime supporter of the Palestinian cause, has repeatedly described Israel as a “terrorist state” and Hamas as a “group of liberators”.

In a separate incident, Istanbul’s top-flight side Basaksehir said it was launching a disciplinary investigation into another Israeli player, Eden Karzev, for reposting a social media message about the hostages, reading: “Bring Them Home Now”.

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