Uefa Investigating Turkey's Demiral Over Goal Celebration

Turkey defender Merih Demiral is under investigation by Uefa after appearing to make an ultra-nationalist salute during his country's victory against Austria.

Demiral, 26, scored twice as Turkey booked their place in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals to face Netherlands with a 2-1 win against Austria.

The Al-Ahli defender celebrated his second goal with a 'wolf salute', a gesture associated with the far-right extremist group Grey Wolves that are linked with Turkey's ruling coalition party the National Movement Party.

Demiral said the salute, which is banned in Austria and France, was pre-planned in case he scored.

"I had a goal celebration in mind, which I did," said Demiral.

"I am very proud because I am a Turk, therefore after the goal I felt it deeply and I wanted to do it, and I am very happy about doing it."

Demiral posted a photo of the celebration on his X account with the caption: “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk!"

Uefa's investigation has been opened in accordance with Article 31(4) in relation to the "alleged inappropriate behaviour" of Demiral.

If found guilty, Demiral could be fined or face a suspension as Turkey prepare to take on Netherlands in Saturday's quarter-final at 8pm BST.

England midfielder Jude Bellingham is under investigation for a gesture he made during the last-16 win against Slovakia on Sunday.

Bellingham was seen making a crotch-grabbing gesture towards the Slovakian bench after scoring an overhead kick in stoppage time.

German interior minister Nancy Faeser said: “The symbols of Turkey’s far-right extremists do not belong in our stadiums.

"The Euros should not be used to promote racism."

National Movement Party chairman Devlet Bahceli defended Demiral and criticised Uefa for their investigation.

"The Grey Wolf sign made by our son Merih after hitting the net is the Turkish nation's message to the world," said Bahceli.

He added: "Uefa's launch of an investigation in this context is both ill-intentioned and part of a chain of provocations that have gained dangerous ground in recent days."