German second-tier side St Pauli have released Cenk Sahin after the midfielder showed support for Turkey’s military operation in Syria on Instagram.
The club launched an investigation after Sahin used the social media platform to support the armed offensive against Kurdish-held regions in Syria via a post that has since been deleted.
Sahin received criticism for the post and St Pauli released a statement on Friday distancing themselves from it as it “is not compatible with the club’s values”.
A club review has now been completed, with Sahin released.
“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,” a club statement read.
“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 existing contract will remain valid in the first instance. For the protection of all the parties involved, FC St. Pauli is granting Cenk Sahin permission to train with and play matches for other clubs.”
The 2.Bundesliga side, who are fighting to win promotion back to the top flight after losing only two of their opening nine games of the season, have enjoyed a cult following the world over due to their overt left-wing political views, which first came to prominence in the 1980s.
The club’s constitution has even been redrafted to take into account the social and political responsibility that are the guiding principles of the side, noting: “FC St. Pauli conveys a way of life and is a symbol of sporting authenticity. This allows people to identify with the club independently of any success it may achieve on the pitch.”