Kurdish-German player barred from Turkish Super League football

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Deniz Naki /AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ

Deniz Naki, a Kurdish football player, has been barred from the Turkish Super League by the disciplinary council of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), NTV reported.

The player is accused of spreading separatist and ideological propaganda in Turkey.
Naki was banned from all competitive matches for three years, six months, which equates to a lifetime ban in Turkey.

The 28-year-old Kurdish-German midfielder is a prominent defender of Turkey’s Kurdish minority who harshly criticized the Turkish military’s recent operations in the Afrin region of Syria.

Naki was also detained in mid-summer due to social media posts authorities found insulting to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Earlier, Naki was given a suspended sentence due to social media posts the presiding judge claimed were terrorist propaganda. Naki said his postings aimed at peace-building in Turkey’s Kurdish regions in the east of the country, adding that he dedicated a 2016 win against rival Bursaspor to the people who lost their lives or were wounded during Turkish military operations in Diyarbakir’s Sur district.

“My statement following the match was the reason they filed a complaint against me,” he told Turkish media. Turkey has increased pressure on the Kurdish minority since the summer of 2015. While Kurdish-majority cities were devastated by consecutive military operations, hundreds of Kurdish politicians were jailed on terror charges. (Turkey Purge)

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