Turkey wants to detain the country’s all-time record goal scorer Hakan Sukur over alleged links to the plot to overthrow President Erdogan – accuses him of being a member of an armed terror group.
Turkey has issued an arrest warrant for the most famous player in Turkish footballing history, striker Hakan Sukur, in an investigation into the failed coup on July 15, aimed at unseating president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a report said on Friday.
The warrant accuses the 44-year-old of “being a member of an armed terror group,” the state-run Andalou news agency said.
The accusation is a reference to the organisation of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Erdogan and his allies for the coup.
Operatives of the country’s Police Force raided a house in Istanbul, believed to belong to Sukur, as well as his father’s home in Sakarya.
Sukur and his family are understood to have left Turkey for the United States last year and on Friday Turkish media reported that the regional prosecutor’s office had issued an order to seize his assets, while his father Selmet Sukur was detained during Friday prayers.
Sukur, who played for clubs including Galatasaray, Inter Milan and Blackburn Rovers, was accused of insulting Erdoğan on Twitter in February, risking a four-year jail sentence.
An allegation he claimed was not intended to target the president, even when prosecutors said that the tweets were “clearly related” to the Turkish president.
The arrest warrant for Sukur was issued on the same day that a video emerged of Gulen leading a sermon for players from Galatasaray in 1996, illustrating close ties between the cleric and football in Turkey.
It would be recalled, Erdogan ordered a purge of tens of thousands of soldiers, officials and bureaucrats since the coup attempt, in which rogue troops commandeered helicopters and jets.