January 15 – A Turkish-based Israeli player faces prosecution for showing solidarity during a goal celebration with the hostages taken in the October 7 Hamas attacks.
Turkish police detained Sagiv Jehezkel over a message he displayed on his wrist during a top-tier match alluding to the passage of 100 days since the Hamas attack that prompted Israel’s bombardment of Gaza which has left tens of thousands dead and injured.
Jehezkel, who plays for Antalyaspor, held up a bandaged hand that read ‘100 days. 7/10’ after scoring the equalizer for his side in a 1-1 draw against Trabzonspor in a match of round 20 of the Turkish Super Lig.
He insisted he was not ‘pro-war’ but was immediately suspended by his club which released a statement saying Jehezkel had “acted against the national values of our country”, and that he would be “excluded from the squad”.
Jehezkel was detained before being released pending trial for “publicly inciting the public to hatred and hostility”.
Turkey’s Minister of Justice Yilmaz Tunc said an investigation had been launched due to the player’s “ugly action supporting Israel’s massacre in Gaza”.
“I once again condemn the attacks of Israel, which has committed crimes against humanity by committing genocide in Gaza, regardless of children or women, young or old, for more than 100 days. We will always continue to stand by the oppressed Palestinians,” Tunc wrote on the X social network.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long been a staunch supporter of the Palestinians, including Hamas, and has been highly critical of Israel’s conduct in Gaza.
Jehezkel gave a statement through a translator saying he did not “make a move to provoke”, but wanted the war to end.
“I am not a pro-war person… there are Israeli soldiers captured in Gaza. I am someone who believes that this 100-day period should end now. I want the war to end,” he declared.
On Monday, the Israeli football player had been released from custody and will be deported from Turkey.
“I did not make any move to provoke or provoke anyone. I am not a pro-war person. And after all, there are Israeli soldiers captured in Gaza. I am someone who believes that this 100-day period should end now. I want the war to end. I want that. That’s why I showed the sign here. I am someone who has nothing to do with politics. I have never done anything related to politics since I arrived. I have never disrespected anyone since the day I arrived. The point I wanted to draw attention to was the end of the war,” said Jehezkel.
Contact the writer of this story at andrew.warshaw@insideworldfootball. Additional reporting by Aleksander Krassimirov.