Sunday 23 July 2017

Arda Turan retires from international football after assaulting journalist on flight

Arda Turan (10) of Turkey greets supporters after the 2018 FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I football match between Turkey and Kosovo in Antalya, Turkey on November 12, 2016. (Photo by Orhan Cicek/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Arda Turan (10) of Turkey greets supporters after the 2018 FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I football match between Turkey and Kosovo in Antalya, Turkey on November 12, 2016. (Photo by Orhan Cicek/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Independent Sport Staff

Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan has retired from international football after verbally and physically assaulting a journalist travelling on the Turkish national team's plane.

The playmaker, who has always enjoyed a tense relationship with the media in Turkey, is a target for Arsenal this summer but is currently on international duty.

The incident took place on a plane to Italy on Monday night, when Turan reportedly approached Milliyet’s Bilal Meşe just before takeoff to vent about a story he had published about a pay dispute at Euro 2016. Coach Fatih Terim later expelled him from the squad and he has since quit the national team, after a row that got out of hand on the aircraft.

“Tell me Bilal Meşe, were you there?" he began. "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,” Turan said.

“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.

He then reportedly had to be restrained by teammates as he grabbed Meşe by the throat.

Following the incident, the Barcelona man 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 … [He] filled up the pages for months, but in front of me he had no more than two words,” Turan wrote, confirming the altercation had taken place.

And on Tuesday afternoon the midfielder confirmed that he is retiring from international football.

© Independent News Service

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