Arda Turan, a Turkish international and Barcelona midfielder, was kicked off the Turkish national team squad on after verbally and physically assaulting a Turkish sports journalist on a plane carrying the national team from Macedonia’s Skopje to Italy’s Trieste.
Turan was told to leave the team camp by coach Fatih Terim after the coach held a meeting with federation officials. The attack allegedly took place late on June 5. Turan reportedly approached Turkish sports journalist Bilal Meşe before the plane took off and began screaming at him.
Turan was reportedly angry about Turan stories reported in the Turkish media during the national team’s troubled European Championships last year. Turkey failed to advance from its group with two losses in three games.
“Tell me Bilal Meşe, were you there? Were you with us when you wrote about the bonuses issue? Who did I ask for money from? Who did ask I for bonuses from? Talk. Come on. Who made you write those reports?” Turan reportedly shouted at Meşe, a veteran journalist who had blamed skipper Turan for much of the squad disharmony.
“What kind of a country is this? They allow you onto this plane. F*** those who allowed you onto this plane. You thought I was like the others. Who did I beg for money from? You son of a b****. I’d quit football before allowing anyone to say anything against my honour, my family,” he added.
“Your boss is [TFF President Yıldırım] Demirören. You are from the newspaper of the TFF president! Isn’t your boss the TFF president?” Turan shouted.
Turan reportedly had to be restrained by teammates as he grabbed Meşe by the throat.
After the incident, Turan posted to Instagram to seemingly confirm the incident, 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 … [He] filled up the pages for months, but in front of me he had no more than two words,” Turan wrote.
Turan is rumored to be transferred from Barcelona this summer, with English Premier League club Arsenal being the favorite to sign him.