UEFA announced on Wednesday that it was opening an investigation into the “potential inappropriate behaviour” of Turkish defender Merih Demiral during Tuesday's Euro 2024 round of 16 match against Austria (2-1), during which he scored twice.

Demiral himself posted a photo on his X account of himself raising his arms to celebrate one of his goals, and making a hand sign reminiscent of the “Grey Wolves”, a Turkish far-right group.

An “ethics and disciplinary investigator” has been appointed and further information on the matter will follow, UEFA said in its statement.

“The symbol of Turkish right-wing extremists has no place in our stadiums,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser responded on X. “Using the European Football Championship as a platform for racism is completely unacceptable. We expect UEFA to investigate the case and consider sanctions,” she added.

Merih Demiral accompanied the posted image with the motto of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: ​​”Happy is he who says 'I am Turkish'.”

And he told the press after the match that he wanted to talk about “the pride of being Turkish”. “I am very happy to have done it (this celebration, editor's note), all our supporters are proud of us. I had seen some of them do it, and so I wanted to do it even more,” he added.

Turkish Sports Minister Osman Askin Bak shared the controversial photo on X, writing “That says it all,” a comment accompanied by the Turkish flag.

In the Euro quarter-finals, Turkey will face the Netherlands on Saturday (9:00 p.m.) in Berlin.

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