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Gundogan, Can remove Turkey military salute photo ‘likes’

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Germany’s midfielder Ilkay Gundogan takes part in a training session on the eve of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier Group C football match Estonia vs Germany, on October 12, 2019 in Tallinn. (Photo by Raul Mee / AFP)

German international Ilkay Gundogan and Emre Can, who both have Turkish roots, on Sunday deleted Instagram ‘likes’ of a photograph showing Turkey footballers performing a military salute, a gesture seen as supporting their country’s military offensive in Syria.

Gundogan, who was lambasted on the eve of the 2018 World Cup for posing for pictures with teammate Mesut Ozil alongside Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said he deleted his post when he realised it was open to misinterpretation.

“I deleted my ‘Like’ when I saw that it could be interpreted politically,” Manchester City player Gundogan told AFP subsidiary, SID.

“Believe me, after what happened last year, the last thing I wanted was to give a political signal.”

The photograph in question showed Turkey players making a military salute in their 1-0 win over Albania in Istanbul on Friday in response to their country’s widely-condemned offensive against Kurds in Syria.

Cenk Tosun, the goalscorer, posted the picture on Twitter and wrote: “For our nation and especially for those who risk their lives for our country”.

On Sunday, Can also delete his post, claiming he had no desire to be seen supporting armed conflict.

“I liked the post of Tosun, who I have known for a long time while browsing his account without paying attention to its content. I am absolutely a pacifist and against all forms of war.”

UEFA has already said that they will “examine” the incident involving the salute.

The German football federation (DFB) said that officials would discuss the matter with Gundogan and Can after Sunday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia.


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