The Turkish government has reportedly issued an arrest warrant for former Galatasaray and Inter Milan striker Hakan Sukur in relation to the failed July 15 military coup. He left with his family to the U.S. last year.
Sukur has been accused of “being a member of an armed terror group” that was behind the coup aimed at outstaging president Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month,according to a state-run Anadolu news agency which referred to the group as Fethullahist Terror Organisation (FETO).
Image: Hakan Sukur
Kaveh Solhekol [a reporter with Sky Sports News] elaborated further on the offences for which Sukur’s arrest warrant has been issued:
Turkey issues arrest warrant for ex Blackburn striker Hakan Sukur. Accused of insulting the president & membership of opposition movement
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) August 12, 2016
The Guardian confirms Sukur “could get a four-year jail sentence” after he insulted president Erdogan on Twitter in February–an offence which is strictly prohibited in Turkey.
BR wrote: “The 44-year-old stood as one of Turkey’s most celebrated stars during his playing days, and as well as being the national team’s second-most capped player ever, he’s also their top scorer, with 51 international goals to his name.
“Sukur earned 115 caps for Turkey and made 301 appearances for Galatasaray before retiring from football in 2008, per Transfermarkt. However, his alleged move against Erdogan risks a potential jail sentence.”
His goal after just 11 seconds of play against South Korea in 2002 remains the fastest goal in World Cup history, Aljazeera re-affirms.
Image: Haka Sukur
Patrick Galey of Agence France-Presse pointed out just how quickly things have changed for the ex-player in his native land following reports he was wanted for arrest:
Once upon a time, Sukur’s wedding was a national holiday.https://t.co/A7CPEn4PMp
— Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley) August 12, 2016
Following his glittering European football career, Sukur delved into politics and was elected member of parliament for Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development party in 2011, per the Guardian.
Sukur’s crime may not be far-fetched from his allegiance to Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric accused of spearheading last month’s failed coup plot.
Though the Turkish government has said Fethullah Gulen is behind the bloody attempt that ended over 200 lives, Sukur made himself an enemy of the state when he resigned from his post as part of Erdogan’s party in 2013, and choosing to join The Gulen Movement.
Image shows Hakan Sukur presenting a speech with president Erdogan watching.
Tom Michael of the Sun added that Sukur’s father, Sermet Sukur, has been detained by the Sakarya prosecutor general’s office, and police “raided” the former international star’s home in Istanbul.
Sukur now lives in the United States just as Fethullah Gulen who has been on a self-imposed exile.
Image: Hakan Sukur
While the Turkish government is negotiating with the U.S. for Gulen’s extradition, it is believed that the recent development on Sukur may force Ankara into issuing an “Interpol Red Notice which would be requested for the player’s immediate extradition,” according to Turkish media.