Turkish midfielder Cenk Sahin has been released by Bundesliga 2 side St. Pauli after showing his support for Turkey's military actions in Syria:
The 25-year-old posted a photograph on Instagram of the Turkish flag with a caption expressing support for Turkey's invasion of Kurdish-held regions in Syria, according to the Daily Sabah.
Turkey's Operation Peace Spring was launched Wednesday and is aimed at eliminating Kurdish forces along the border and resettling Syrian refugees.
The German side explained their decision to release the 25-year-old in a statement posted on their official club website:
"The internal review of Cenk Sahin's Instagram post on the deployment of the Turkish army in Syria has been completed. After further talks between club officials and the player, Cenk Sahin has been released from his training and playing duties with immediate effect. The prime factors in reaching the decisions were his repeated disregard for the club’s values and the need to protect the player."
"After numerous discussions with fans, members and friends whose roots lie in Turkey, it has become clear to us that we cannot and should not attempt to gauge nuances in perceptions and attitudes from other cultural backgrounds in detail. That we reject acts of war is not open to doubt or discussion, however. These acts, and the expression of solidarity with them, run counter to the values of the club."
The club also added that Sahin's contract with St. Pauli remains "valid" but he has been given permission to train and play for other teams.
Sahin's Instagram post drew criticism from supporters, who accused the midfielder of being a "war-supporter," per the Daily Sabah.
ESPN's Eren Sarigul offered his thoughts on St. Pauli's decision to release Sahin:
Sahin joined St. Pauli from Istanbul Basaksehir in 2017 after a loan spell with the club. Although he has been granted permission to play for another club he will be unable to secure a move until the winter transfer window reopens.