FA look into Cenk Tosun celebration as striker denies it was linked to Turkish far-right group 8 months ago

FA look into Cenk Tosun celebration as striker denies it was linked to Turkish far-right group

He made the salute during the Toffees FA Cup victory over Rotherham on Saturday

The FA are understood to be looking into a celebration by Everton's Turkish international striker Cenk Tosun after he was accused of using a facist hand symbol during the Toffees' extra-time FA Cup third round win on Saturday.

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Tosun scored the first goal of the game, in the ninth minute, and could be seen doing a gesture which is used by a group called the Grey Wolves, a CIA-trained outfit which for decades has carried out coordinated campaigns of violence against Kurdish people in Turkey and elsewhere.

The group and its members are also known to have been involved in international drug-trafficking since the 1980s.

The player has denied having any knowledge of who the Grey Wolves are, and insisted that he was merely pointing to the sky. His goal against Rotherham was his first for the club since 2019 after a loan spell to Crystal Palace and a lengthy injury lay-off.

Subsequently, the Twitter user who is believed to have first made the allegation has retracted his comment and apologised to the 29-year-old, saying:

"I’ve just had it confirmed that Tosun was asked about it and he said that the sign was not for the Grey Wolves but a gesture towards God.

"I’d like to apologise for my tweet, which was based solely on a spur of the moment assumption, and I’m very happy to know I was wrong."

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Despite the retraction, the FA confirmed to i that they are aware of the celebration and were looking into its meaning.

It is not the first time that Tosun has been accused of promoting anti-Kurdish sentiments. In 2019, he and a number of his Turkey teammates were photographed celebrating a key victory by flashing a symbol of support to Turkish president Recep Erdogan's invasion of Rojava, a de facto autonomous region in northeastern Syria which is home to a large Kurdish population.

Turkey is accused of carrying out an ethnic cleansing campaign in the region with the help of extremists.

The country's football association was reprimanded by UEFA after the incident.