Greek basketball player Kostas Sloukas, who plays for Turkish team Fenerbahce, has been slammed for not holding a banner commemorating Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Sloukas’ team Fenerbahce walked into the stadium holding a banner marking the 81st anniversary of Ataturk’s death just before their Turkish Basketball League match against Besiktas began, however, Sloukas stood back.
Sloukas, bu ülkenin ekmeğini yiyip bu ülkenin kurucusuna saygısızlık yapmayacaksın. Tüm dünyanın saygıyla andığı Atamıza sen de saygını göstereceksin... #10kasım pic.twitter.com/14PmAfiscB
— Semih Erden (@semiherden_9) November 10, 2019
The Greek guard was heavily criticised by Turkish media and on social media, including a Twitter post that was published by former Boston Celtics player Semih Erden, which showed footage of Sloukas not touching the banner but standing behind it.
The 29-year-old Greek athlete was asked to respond and Fenerbahce published the following statement made by Sloukas:
“I have great respect both for this country and this team. I have been here for five years. I respect Turkey and its history. None of my actions were made consciously. I was fully focused on the game, and I didn’t realise what was going on. Everyone knows who I am and how I fight for this club. After all, I’ve been here with this team for five years. I fight for this team and this country. I was not being disrespectful. I understand that this country holds an important history. I have always respected this. Yes, I am a Greek citizen, but I’ve been playing here for five years and Fenerbahce which represents Turkey.”