Erdogan to attend Euro 2024 match in Berlin as diplomatic row spirals

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be in Germany for his country’s Euro 2024 quarterfinal on Saturday, the presidency told AFP, as Ankara and Berlin trade barbs over a Turkish footballer’s celebratory gesture.

Germany summoned Turkey’s ambassador in Berlin on Thursday morning amid a spiralling diplomatic row which erupted after Turkish footballer Merih Demiral made an alleged ultra-nationalist hand sign during his team’s win over Austria.

In a tweet announcing the move the German foreign ministry said that “as the host of Euro 2024 we want sport to bring people together”.

A day earlier Turkey had summoned the German envoy in Ankara.

After scoring his second goal in Turkey’s 2-1 victory over Austria on Tuesday Demiral made a gesture associated with Turkish ultra-nationalist group Grey Wolves.

His action prompted Uefa to launch a probe for “inappropriate behaviour”, and sparked condemnation from German leaders, but Ankara immediately branded Berlin’s reaction as “xenophobia”.

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser warned “the symbols of Turkish right-wing extremists have no place in our stadiums” and said that “using the European football championships as a platform for racism is completely unacceptable”.

While Erdogan himself has not yet weighed in on the row directly, several ministers and the spokesman of his ruling AKP party have condemned Faeser’s reaction.

Accusing German authorities of “xenophobia”, Turkey’s foreign ministry pointed out that Germany’s domestic intelligence service had emphasised in its report “not every person making the grey wolf sign can be described as a far-right extremist.

“We condemn the politically motivated reactions to the use of a historical and cultural symbol in a way that does not target anyone during the celebration at a sports event,” it added.

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