Arda Turan has quit the Turkish national team after reportedly attacking a journalist on the team plane.
Turkey dropped Turan from its World Cup qualifier squad Tuesday and he held a press conference announcing his retirement from international play. Turkish coach Fatih Terim kicked Turan out of training Tuesday in Slovenia.
The playmaking Barcelona midfielder was accused of verbally and physically attacking Milliyet newspaper reporter Bilal Mese after becoming enraged over an article Mese had written on a pay dispute between Turan and the national team. The incident occurred on the team plane shortly before it took off from Macedonia following Monday’s friendly there.
“Tell me Bilal Meşe, were you there?” Turan reportedly shouted at Mese, as translated by the Independent. “Were you with us when you wrote about the bonuses issue? Who did I ask for money from? Who did ask I for bonuses from? Talk. Come on. Who made you write those reports?”
He also reportedly grabbed Mese by the throat before he was restrained by teammates.
Several journalists walked out of Turan’s press conference in protest.
In an Instagram post after the incident, Turan said Mese had “filled out the pages for months” but didn’t have “two words” when confronted face-to-face by Turan.
Turan, 30, made his international debut in 2006 and quickly became a mainstay in the team. The remaining members of the team have a Wold Cup qualifier against Kosovo on Sunday.
Turan said Tuesday that he has “no regrets.”