Turkish club send Israeli player to Maccabi after Gaza controversy

Turkish first division club Basaksekir on Thursday sent Israeli midfielder Eden Karzev on loan to Maccabi Tel Aviv following a probe into his repost of a social media message calling for the release of hostages held by Hamas militants.

The Istanbul side launched disciplinary proceedings against Karzev earlier this week after the defensive midfielder shared a message reading: “Bring Them Home Now”.

The probe came the same day Israeli footballer Sagiv Jehezkel was briefly detained and charged with incitement to hatred for displaying a message about the Gaza war after scoring a goal for Antalyaspor.

Jehezkel left Turkey after being formally charged in an Istanbul court on Monday.

Basaksekir took Karzev on loan from Israeli outfit Maccabi Tel Aviv last year.

“The player was fined in accordance with the club’s disciplinary instructions, and it was deemed appropriate for the football player to continue his career abroad,” Basaksekir said in a statement.

Maccabi said the 23-year-old — capped five times by Israel — was joining the Tel Aviv side on loan from Basaksekir for the remainder of the season.

“Eden Karzev returns to Maccabi after an agreement was reached with Turkish side Basaksehir for the loan of the 23-year-old midfielder until the end of the 2023/24 season with an option to make the move permanent,” the Israeli side said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become one of the Muslim world’s harshest critics of Israel over the scale of death and destruction in Gaza.

Turkey’s overnight detention of Jehezkel outraged top Israeli officials.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said it showed that “Turkey has become a dark dictatorship”.

Fighting has ravaged Gaza since Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attacks on Israel that resulted in the death of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Militants seized about 250 hostages during the October 7 attacks, around 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel is conducting relentless bombardment and a ground offensive.

These have killed at least 24,620 Palestinians, around 70 percent of them women, children and adolescents, according to Gaza health ministry figures. BSS

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