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The Latest Row Between Russia and Turkey Is Over a Putin T-Shirt



Relations between Turkey and Russia are in free-fall: Turkey shot down a Russian jet in November, Russia in turn accused Turkey of bolstering the Islamic State, and now Ankara is blaming Moscow for using airstrikes to back up the Kurdish groups that they fear will try to take over more territory near the Turkish border.

So maybe Tuesday was not the best time for Russian soccer player Dmitri Tarasov to rip off his jersey after losing 2-0 to a Turkish soccer club, only to reveal a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin on his undershirt.

Beneath the picture of Putin in his army fatigues, the Russian caption said “The Most Polite President” — a reference to the Russian forces who invaded Crimea in 2014 and were nicknamed “polite people.”

Even if Turkish fans took the home the win, they certainly didn’t appreciate Tarasov’s gesture on their home turf in Istanbul.

Neither did the Union of European Football Associations, which charged Tarasov and his team, Lokomotiv Moscow, with improper conduct Wednesday. UEFA bans “all forms of ideological, political, or religious propaganda” — and apparently considered Tarasov’s gesture to be politically motivated. Turkish news outlets have accused him of sparking an intentional provocation.

Tarasov disagrees.

“I didn’t want any provocations, I’m just a patriot


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