HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Turkish midfielder Cenk Sahin has been released by German soccer club St. Pauli following his Instagram post in support of his country's invasion of Kurdish-held regions in northern Syria.
The second-division club said on Monday that "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."
Sahin on Friday wrote on Instagram: "We're on the side of our heroic military and armies. Our prayers are with you!"
It led to calls from St. Pauli fans for the player to be sacked, and messages of support for the Kurds.
The Hamburg-based club said Monday it conducted an internal review amid further talks between club officials and 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," St. Pauli said. "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."
Sahin's existing contract will remain valid, but St. Pauli has given him permission to train and play for other clubs. Sahin, who joined the German team from Istanbul Basaksehir in 2016, is reportedly back in Turkey. A switch can only be completed in the winter transfer window.