Turkish former football star Hakan Sukur wanted in connection with coup | News | DW | 12.08.2016
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Turkish former football star Hakan Sukur wanted in connection with coup

Along with countless public officials, Turkey has now issued an arrest warrant for retired striker Hakan Sukur. He is accused of supporting US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says orchestrated the revolt.

Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu reported on Friday that prosecutors have issued a detention warrant for Turkey and Galatasaray striker Hakan Sukur. Officials said the sportsman faced charges of being a member of an "armed terrorist group."

The arrest warrant for the 44-year-old comes as part of Ankara's crackdown in the wake of the failed coup attempt on July 15. Some 270 people were killed and many others wounded after parts of the Turkish military tried to seize power.

Warrant to seize assets

Sukur and his father Selmet are accused by the Turkish government of having links to the alleged plotters of the putsch. A court order has also been obtained to seize Sukur's assets in Turkey, which are estimated to be worth 200 million Turkish lira ($67.6 million, 60.6 million euros). The assets of Sukur's father are also included in the valuation.

Sukur is the Turkish national team's all-time top scorer and landed the fastest-ever World Cup goal after just 11 seconds at the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan, during Turkey's third-place playoff victory against South Korea.

He retired from football following the 2007-2008 season after playing for a host of European teams including Galatasaray, Inter Milan and Blackburn Rovers. He enjoyed three lengthy and successful spells at the Istanbul giants.

Nationwide purge

Formerly a member of parliament from Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Sukur resigned in protest in 2013 following a widespread corruption probe into top government officials.

The former footballer is now believed to be residing in the US, where he purportedly has ties to Turkish-born preacher Fethullah Gulen. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the cleric and former ally of plotting last month's coup - charges Gulen denies.

Following last month's failed coup, Erdogan launched a huge purge across Turkey's military and public services, detaining some 35,022 people on suspicion of supporting Gulen. Of those detained, more than 17,700 have been formally arrested under court orders.

ksb/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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