Turkey arrests Israeli footballer for inciting 'hatred'
Sagiv Jehezkel, an Israeli footballer playing for Bitexen Antalyaspor in Turkey, was arrested early Monday. The arrest followed his display of a solidarity message with Israel during a Trendyol Super Lig match against Trabzonspor.
The 28-year-old winger, who was already excluded from Antalyaspor's squad for his pro-Israel goal celebration, faces charges of "inciting the public to hatred and hostility." This development comes after an investigation initiated by the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, as confirmed by police sources.
Evren Alkan, the deputy president and spokesperson for Antalyaspor, stated that the club's lawyers are working to terminate Jehezkel's contract.
Jehezkel's solidarity gesture involved raising his bandaged hand, marked with a Star of David, after scoring against Trabzonspor. The bandage symbolized the Jewish identity and referenced the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and the subsequent 100 days of Israeli response in Gaza.
The match between Antalyaspor and Trabzonspor ended in a 1-1 draw at home. This season, Jehezkel has scored six goals and made two assists in 13 matches for Antalyaspor.
Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc announced a judicial investigation against Jehezkel for his actions, deemed as supporting "Israel's massacre in Gaza" and inciting public hatred.
The Turkish football authority condemned Jehezkel's actions as "completely unacceptable" and initiated a disciplinary investigation.
Following the Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas, Israel has conducted air and ground operations in the Gaza Strip. These operations have reportedly resulted in 1,200 deaths in Israel, according to Tel Aviv.
Palestinian health authorities report that at least 23,968 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed, and 60,582 injured since then.
The United Nations reports that 85% of Gaza's population is now internally displaced, facing severe shortages of food, clean water, and medicine. Additionally, 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.