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'Turks are coming for Iceland': Toilet brush mockery provokes Turkish football fans

Fans accuse Icelandic man of shoving 'Turks Head Toilet Brush' in the face of a top football player
Emre Belezoglu talks to reporters at the airport in Keflavik, Iceland (Screengrab)
By Ragip Soylu in Istanbul

Angry Turks have taken to social media to denounce the detention of their national football team at an Icelandic airport, as well as the apparent ridicule one of their star players by a man holding a toilet brush.

Turkish Twitter and Facebook were set ablaze on Monday after it was revealed that the authorities had held the national team on Sunday evening for three hours upon their arrival in Leifur Eiriksson Air Terminal in Keflavik, Iceland due to security concerns.

The team, which is scheduled to face Iceland as part of Euro 2020 qualifiers, was put through a special passport check and their luggage was also subjected to an additional inspection.

Then, as Emre Belezoglu, a prominent midfielder, was leaving the airport, during a media scrum someone appeared to hold up a toilet brush as a mic.

A number of Twitter users argued there was a racist connotation to the act as the implement looked like a brush known as a "Turk's Head Toilet Bowl Brush" in English.

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The hashtage #TurksAreComingForIceland started trending on Twitter on Sunday night as official statements from Turkish officials began piling up.

“The treatment our national team received in Iceland airport is unacceptable in terms of diplomatic customs as well as humane angle. Our people shouldn’t have any doubt that we will do what is necessary,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted.

Fahrettin Altun, the communications director for the Turkish Presidency also issued a statement: “The treatment of the Turkish National Football Team at Iceland’s Keflavik Airport was not in line with diplomatic courtesy or sportsmanlike conduct. I condemn the authorities and officials who were responsible for what happened. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

Turkey’s minister for sports and youth was also dispatched to the country following the incident.

Icelandic authorities said they had held the Turkish national team at the airport for flying from an “unapproved” airport in the city of Konya, where the team had a game with France on Saturday night, according to sources who spoke to local media outlet Mbl.

Iceland's football association reportedly called the whole affair "strange” and said a statement would be forthcoming.

The statements didn’t prevent Turkish football fans trying to track down the toilet brush wielder.

Benedikt Gretarsson, a reporter for local news platform Visir, received hundreds of mentions - including threats and insults - after he was wrongly identified as the brushman.

“Getting about 20,000 threat postings / hate speech from Turkey” he tweeted.

The Iceland Football Association’s Facebook account was also subjected to Turkish outrage.

After hours of hunting by Turkish social media users, however, the brushman remains at large.

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