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Merih Demiral's Unconventional Celebration Spars Controversy Ahead of Turkey's Euro 2024 Campaign


Turkish defender Merih Demiral has sparked a minor controversy with his unconventional celebration during a recent friendly match against Greece. The incident has raised questions about cultural sensitivity and the potential impact on Turkey's upcoming Euro 2024 campaign.

The Celebration

Following Turkey's 2-1 victory over Greece on June 29, Demiral was captured on camera performing a "military salute" celebration. The gesture, often associated with nationalistic and militaristic sentiments, drew mixed reactions from observers.

Cultural Context

In Turkey, the military salute is typically reserved for official military personnel and has strong cultural significance. However, it has also been adopted by some civilian groups and political factions as a symbol of patriotism and national pride.


Demiral's celebration was met with criticism from some quarters, who argued that it was insensitive and inappropriate in a sporting context. Others defended the player, asserting that the salute was a harmless expression of national pride.

UEFA Investigation

UEFA, the governing body of European football, has opened an investigation into the incident. The organization has strict regulations prohibiting political and religious gestures or symbols during matches. If found guilty of violating these rules, Demiral could face a suspension or other disciplinary action.

Impact on Turkey's Euro 2024 Campaign

The controversy surrounding Demiral's celebration has cast a shadow over Turkey's preparations for the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament. The team, which qualified for the competition with a strong performance in the qualifiers, hopes to make a deep run this summer.

However, the negative publicity surrounding Demiral's actions could potentially impact the team's morale and focus. Additionally, if UEFA takes disciplinary action against the player, it could further disrupt Turkey's preparations.

Similar Incidents

Demiral's celebration is not the first time that a player has been caught up in a controversy over a military-themed gesture. In recent years, there have been several instances of players using salutes or other military-inspired symbols during matches.

These incidents have prompted calls for greater sensitivity and understanding from players regarding the potential political and cultural implications of their actions.


The controversy surrounding Merih Demiral's celebration highlights the complex and often delicate relationship between sports and politics. While players have the right to express their personal beliefs and opinions, they must do so in a manner that respects the sensibilities of others.

In the case of military-themed celebrations, it is important to remember that these gestures carry different meanings in different cultural contexts. What may be seen as a harmless expression of patriotism in one country could be interpreted as offensive or provocative in another.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, it is crucial for athletes and sports organizations to navigate these cultural sensitivities with care and diplomacy. By doing so, they can help to promote unity and understanding in the sporting arena and beyond.


Merih Demiral's military salute celebration has ignited a debate about cultural sensitivity and the boundaries of acceptable conduct in sports. As Turkey prepares for its Euro 2024 campaign, it remains to be seen how the controversy will ultimately play out and what impact it will have on the team's performance on the pitch.

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