Turkey coup: Ex-footballer Hakan Sukur sought over Gulen links

Hakan Sukur playing for Turkey at the 2002 World Cup Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hakan Sukur was for years Turkey's best-known footballer before entering politics

Turkish prosecutors investigating the failed July coup have issued an arrest warrant for one of the country's best-known footballers, ex-international Hakan Sukur, state media report.

Searches were carried out at two houses in western Turkey, as officials said he faced charges of being a member of an "armed terrorist organisation".

A former MP for the ruling AK party, Hakan Sukur is a known supporter of the cleric blamed for the botched coup.

He moved to the US several months ago.

A warrant was also issued for the ex-footballer's father, Sermet Sukur. He was arrested in his hometown of Adapazari after he was seen at a local mosque and reported to the police. Sermet Sukur for years acted as his son's manager.

Hakan Sukur's twitter account and website were not publicly accessible on Friday. However, he has expressed support for cleric Fethullah Gulen in the past.

'Bull of the Bosphorus'

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hakan Sukur had several spells abroad, including with Blackburn Rovers in 2003
  • Hakan Sukur played for Turkey 112 times and scored 51 international goals
  • Joined Galatasaray in 1992 and was part of their Uefa Cup-winning team in 2000
  • Had spells with Torino (in 1995) and later with Inter Milan, Parma and Blackburn Rovers
  • Scored fastest-ever World Cup goal, after 11 seconds against South Korea in 2002
  • Retiring in 2007, he was an AKP MP for two years from 2011

Mr Gulen lives in self-imposed exile in the US and the Turkish government has called for his extradition to face trial on charges of masterminding the failed 15 July coup. He denies involvement.

Some 270 people died and many more were wounded when parts of the armed forces tried to seize power.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by purging the military and public services of tens of thousands of people suspected of following Mr Gulen, whom the government accuses of setting up a parallel state.

Hakan Sukur went on trial in absentia in June for insulting President Erdogan on social media and the decision by prosecutors to seek his arrest is not seen as a surprise because of his support for the US-based preacher.

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