Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettReuters

Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday night ripped Turkey following the arrest and questioning of Israeli soccer player Sagiv Yehezkel, who expressed support for the hostages being held in Gaza.

“Welcome to Turkey’s Midnight Express. This is unbelievable. An Israeli football player, Sagiv Yehezkel, scored a goal for Antalyaspor, a Turkish team. He made a gesture ‘100’ for the Israelis who have been held hostage by Hamas for the past 100 days,” Bennett wrote in a post on X.

“All hell broke loose:

- He was condemned by the national football association

- His team announced he was suspended

- Then they said he’d be fired

And to top it up, Turkish police has arrested him (!) and he’s undergoing interrogation.”

“Yes, for making this simple gesture. This is Turkey 2024. Shame on you, Turkish government,” wrote Bennett.

Turkey’s Justice Minister announced on Sunday evening that a probe has been launched against Yehezkel, after Yehezkel scored a goal in his team's game and dedicated it to the hostages who have been held captive by Hamas in Gaza for 100 days.

After the incident, Yehezkel's team decided to suspend him and announced that they had started procedures to nullify his contract.

The announcement of the legal investigation, however, is another step. Yehezkel was accused of the crime of "public incitement of the public to hatred and hostility" and for "supporting the massacre carried out by Israel in Gaza".

Israel and Turkey formally announced last year that they would normalize relations by returning the ambassadors and consuls, after years of tensions.

However, tensions have resurfaced as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has upped his attacks on Israel since the start of the war against Hamas on October 7.