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Uefa has opened an investigation into a Turkish footballer following a celebration in the country's Euro 2024 win.

Merih Demiral scored twice in Turkey's last 16 win over Austria in Leipzig to send them through to the next round.

However, the Al-Ahli star defender has been accused of making a gesture associated with a hard-right extremist group in Turkey. The so-called "wolf salute" consists of the little finger and index finger raised.

The 26-year-old celebrated his second goal with the "wolf salute" a gesture associated with the Grey Wolves, a hard-right extremist group which is linked to Turkey’s ruling coalition party.

A UEFA statement read: "Match: 2024 UEFA EURO Round of 16 match between Austria and Türkiye played on 2 July 2024 in Leipzig, Germany.

"In relation to the 2024 UEFA European Championship Round of 16 match between Austria and Türkiye played on July 2 2024 in Leipzig, Germany, an investigation has been opened in accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations in relation to the alleged inappropriate behaviour of the Turkish Football Federation player, Merih Demiral."

After the match Demiral explained why he performed the celebration: "I had a specific celebration in mind, something connected to my Turkish identity. I am incredibly proud to be Turkish, and I felt that pride deeply after scoring.

"I wanted to express that, and I’m very happy I did. Our fans are proud of us. I saw them doing the gesture in the stands, and it made me want to do it even more. I am very happy."


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In Germany, Constitutional Protection Agency regards supporters of the Grey Wolves as extremists. The gesture is also banned in France and Austria.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has condemned the celebration. In a post on social media, she said: "The symbols of Turkish right-wing extremists have no place in our stadiums.

"Using the European Football Championship as a platform for racism is completely unacceptable. We expect UEFA to investigate the case and consider sanctions."

The central defender, who was man-of-the-match, scored after 57 seconds and added another with a powerful header just before the hour to set up a quarter-final on Saturday in Berlin against the Netherlands, who beat Romania 3-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Turkey coach Vincenzo Montella said: ""This match was a very important match. It was a match where we reflected the team spirit from the first minute to the last minute."

"This is actually a historic result, we have matched 2008 in terms of victories. This is very important. We are advancing step by step."

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