Second Israeli soccer player said fired from Turkish team for ‘Bring Them Home’ post

According to Turkish newspaper, midfielder Eden Kartsev suspended from İstanbul Başakşehir team and will be deported soon, after same happened to Sagiv Jehezkel earlier this week

FILE - Midfielder Eden Kartsev during a training session with the İstanbul Başakşehir soccer team, November 2023 (Screenshot: Instagram, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
FILE - Midfielder Eden Kartsev during a training session with the İstanbul Başakşehir soccer team, November 2023 (Screenshot: Instagram, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A second Israeli soccer player was reportedly fired on Wednesday from a Turkish soccer team for calling for the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip since October 7, after Sagiv Jehezkel was deported on Monday.

According to the Turkish daily Yeni Asir, midfielder Eden Kartsev was suspended from the İstanbul Başakşehir soccer team after he published an Instagram story calling for the release of the Gaza hostages with the slogan “Bring them home now.”

Kartsev will return to Israel “in a day or two,” the report said.

On Monday afternoon, after initially ignoring Kartsev’s post, Başakşehir published a statement saying it had launched a “disciplinary probe” into Kartsev, alleging that he had “violated the club’s disciplinary rules by publishing a post on his Instagram that harms sensitive values of our country, and we expect a written defense by the player on the matter.”

Responding to the post, the fan club for Başakşehir, a favorite club of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wrote on X: “We do not want Zionist supporters who disregard the values ​​and sensitivities of our country.”

Israeli officials, among them Israel Football Association chair Moshe Shino Zuares, were said to be making efforts to bring Kartsev back to Israel as soon as possible due to fears he could be physically harmed, the Israel Hayom outlet reported.

The Yeni Asir report came days after Jehezkel, 28, a player for Antalyaspor, celebrated his equalizer goal in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Trabzonspor in the top Turkish league by making a heart sign with his hands to the camera and showing his wristband, which bore the words “100 days. October 7” along with a Star of David symbol.

Israeli soccer player Sagiv Jehezkel displays a message of solidarity with hostages held in Gaza while celebrating a goal for Turkish club Antalyaspor on January 14, 2024 (Handout / DHA (Demiroren News Agency) / AFP)

Sunday marked 100 days since some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing over 240 hostages of all ages, mostly civilians.

It is believed that 136 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November.

Jehezkel’s gesture did not go down well in Turkey, a country that hosts top Hamas officials and whose leaders have taken a highly hostile approach against Israel during the ongoing war.

Responding to the initial fuss over Jehezkel, Israeli ministers blasted Ankara as an accomplice of Hamas, Erdogan as a “full-on Nazi,” and Turkey as a “dark dictatorship.”

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