Former Turkey international Hakan Sukur has denounced the failed coup against the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The ex-Galatasaray striker is, according to state media, being sought on charges of ‘membership of an armed terror group’, relating to his support for cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by the government of being the mastermind of last month’s coup attempt.
United States-based Gulen has denied any connection to the coup, which saw two hundred and seventy people killed as an element of the armed forces attempted to overthrow president Erdogan, who has initiated a widespread crackdown on sections of civil society in response.
Turkey’s all-time leading goalscorer, Sukur went into politics after his retirement in 2007, serving as an MP for the ruling AK party for two years from 2011, resigning after a corruption investigation into senior government figures.
The 44-year-old has now used Twitter to respond to the allegations against him.
“Dear friends, I do not deserve any of [the] comments and offences and I am very sad about it,” he said.
“Until today I have been transparent and always helped legal and public foundations.
“I retained this principle when I went into politics – even [though] I realized that politics is not for me.
“Maybe I couldn’t do it and I couldn’t say no to somebody, [to avoid hurting] anyone.
“I am not [able to be manipulated], contrary to common belief. So I make mistakes sometimes because I’ve taken my decisions emotionally.
“It was impossible to know the allegations about the [Fethullah Gulen] movement.
“I am cursing the coup attempt that targets our elected president, government and democracy.”
Sukur was known as the Bull of the Bosphorus for his exploits – he scored 51 goals in 112 appearances for the national side. He had spells with Inter, Parma and Blackburn Rovers among other clubs, either side of three stays at Galatasaray.