Turkey’s captain Arda Turan has announced that he is quitting the national side after a bust-up with a reporter on the flight back from an international friendly in Macedonia.
Turan admitted he had made a mistake while representing his country; but also said that he did not regret the encounter with Milliyet reporter, Bilal Mese, on the flight after Turkey drew 0-0 on Monday.
CNN Turk (via The Guardian) quoted Mese as saying that the 30-year-old midfielder attacked him shortly after boarding the plane. Turan insulted, and was even seen swinging punches at the reporter, despite being restrained by another journalist, a security guard, and team personnel.
Mese, who had insulted Turan during the Euro 2016 tournament in France, has already given the verdict on Turan’s behaviour, saying that he would be taking a legal action against the Barca man.
“At first I thought he was joking… Then, one of his punches swung by,” Mese said.
Turan, who has 94 caps for the national team with 17 goals, also stated his side of the story, commenting that the reporter had spread rumours and insulted his family values while covering Euro 2016.
The Barcelona midfielder stated: “I made a mistake while wearing the national team uniform. It was something that should not have happened on the national team plane. Do I regret it? No, I feel like a bird because I never forgot what was said about me.
“I am putting an end to my national team career. I am speaking as someone who has served at every level of the national team, who loves his country and is in love with this jersey.”
Turkey currently stand fourth in the World Cup qualifying Group I, with eight points from five matches. They are five points behind of the group toppers Croatia, and two behind second-placed Iceland.
Written by Sidharth Jindal
Sports fanatic with a passion for writing (predominantly football) and “Wants to live life to its fullest.” Writes about the Premier League on his personal blog.