Top Turkish footballer booted off national team for abusing journalist

Turkish star and Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan was kicked off the national squad after he assaulted sports journalist Bilal Mese. Turan then announced his retirement from international football.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish star and Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan, on the field in Barcelona, Spain. (File photo)

Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan was kicked off the Turkish national squad after he verbally and physically assaulted a sports journalist on a plane carrying the team from Macedonia’s Skopje to Italy’s Trieste late on Monday.

​Turan on Tuesday announced his retirement from international football.

Turan approached Daily Milliyet’s Bilal Mese, who was sitting nearby, and started shouting at him, according to a report by Hurriyet Daily News.

“Tell me Bilal Mese, were you there? Were you with us when you wrote about the bonus issue? Who did I ask for money from? Who did I ask for bonuses from? Talk. Come on. Who made you write those reports?” Turan reportedly shouted at Mese, a veteran journalist.

According to Hurriyet Daily, Turan was referring to stories widely reported in the Turkish media during the national team’s troubled European Championships last year. Then, Turkey failed to advance from its group with two losses in three games.

He also blasted the Turkish Football Federation over the level of bonuses paid to players for participating in the championship.

Following the incident, the Barcelona midfielder shared a message on his Instagram account, saying: “Did I do right yesterday? I don’t know!!!”

“Maybe not right, but at least honest, honourable, esteemed behaviour … Did I get an answer? No … [Mese] filled up the pages for months, but in front of me he had no more than two words,” Turan wrote.

The incident took place on the night of an international friendly match between Macedonia and Turkey.

Turkey faces Kosovo in a World Cup qualifying stage match on June 11.

TRTWorld and agencies