Middle Eastern wounds were once again opened up on Tuesday night in Turkey after Sivasspor midfielder Ibrahim Dagasan planted a Palestinian flag in the centre-circle while celebrating his side’s defeat of Galatasaray on penalties in the cup.
Tensions between Turkey and Israel has soared ever since the start of the most recent Israeli military campaign against Gaza. In recent weeks an Israeli basketball team was chased off a Turkish court following violent scenes against the sportsman by the crowd, after locals Turks began rioting in the stands chanting â€œGod is Greatâ€ and â€œKiller Israel.â€ (Footage here.) While at the start of the week Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was given a hero’s welcome on his return to Turkey after accusing Israel of “knowing very well how to kill” during a sharp exchange with President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum.
Under that backdrop, Ibrahim Dagasan decided to show his support for the Palestinian cause by sticking a Palestinian flag in the centre-circle. According to reports, Dagasan’s actions had the unsurprising knock-on effect of prompting some spectators to chant negative responses about Israel as they celebrated their team’s success.
But this is where the irony sets in.
One of Sivasspor’s main strikers is Israeli forward Pini Balili. Yet while the Israeli striker, a scorer in the successful shoot-out, was seen celebrating his team’s victory by running around with a Turkish flag in his arms, he had to watch on while his fellow teammate ignited political tensions against his country.
Sensitive to the goings-on, Dagasan was reported to have raised a finger to his mouth, gesturing for crowd to silence their chanting against Israel. However the damage had already been done.
A variety of stills showing Ibrahim Dagasan planting the Palestinian flag can be seen on this video
(Please note that the political statements appearing at the end of this video are not representative of 101greatgoals.)