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Turkish kung fu fighter Akyuz under fire for displaying Palestinian flag

Turkish kung fu fighter Necmettin Erbakan Akyuz holds the Palestinian flag at the European Wushu Kungfu Champion, Istanbul, Turkey, December 16, 2023. (Photo via social media)

The Wushu Kungfu Federation of Europe (WKFE) has announced an investigation into a Turkish martial artist, who raised the Palestinian flag during a European championship contest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza amid the bloody Israeli onslaught.

The championship, organized by the continental Europe's federation for wushu kung fu, was held in December 2023 in Istanbul.

Necmettin Erbakan Akyuz, who holds six championships in the martial art, displayed a Palestinian flag after being presented with the European Championship gold medal during the award ceremony.

“Political displays were reported during the prize-giving ceremonies, reportedly initiated by individual members associated with the TWF (Turkish Wushu Kung Fu Federation). Immediate measures were taken on-site, including personal meetings and official protests, to contest these occurrences strongly. Such actions do not align with our values and standards within the WKFE community,” read a statement by the WKFE.

It added that an internal investigation was launched to “examine these incidents, seeking clarity and understanding thoroughly. This inquiry aims to identify any shortcomings and enable the implementation of necessary measures. The findings will be consolidated into a comprehensive report.”

Responding to the European Kung Fu Federation’s threat to strip him of his title, the 22-year-old said “I am proud of myself for the inconvenience I caused, I do not regret it, and if I have the opportunity, I will do it again.”

“You can punish me, you can take away my championships. I don't care, I did it by risking the end of my sports career,” he noted.

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after Palestinian resistance groups carried out a surprise retaliatory operation into the occupied territories.

Concomitantly with the war, the regime has been enforcing a near-total siege on the coastal territory, which has reduced the flow of foodstuffs, medicine, electricity, and water into the Palestinian territory into a trickle.

So far during the military onslaught, the regime has killed at least 34,568 Gazans, most of them women, children, and adolescents. Another 77,765 Palestinians have sustained injuries as well.

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