Arda Turan, star Turkish footballers probed for suspected FETÖ links
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into footballers Emre Belözoğlu, Arda Turan, Okan Buruk, and Bülent Korkmaz for their alleged links to FETÖ, the group believed to have been behind a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, daily Vatan reported on Oct. 18.
The prominent footballers face charges of “being members of FETÖ” and “although not being a member of the organization, helping them knowingly and willingly,” the daily said, according to newly surfaced information.
The authorities are currently looking into whether the allegations are true or not. The prosecutor’s office will take the testimony of the footballers before deciding on how to proceed with the case. The authorities have separate investigation files for each of the footballer.
Separately, six former footballers, Bekir İrtegün, Uğur Boral, Zafer Biryol, Ersin Güreler, İsmail Şengül, and Ömer Çatkıç, are currently standing trial on charges of being members of FETÖ. They are similarly being investigated over FETÖ’s “football structure.” A hearing of their case took place on Oct. 16, during which the suspects were reported to have given the names of many prominent footballers linked to the group. The six athletes face prison terms of up to 22.5 years each.
Meanwhile, Arda Turan stands trial in another case over a brawl that broke out last week at an Istanbul nightclub. An Istanbul court accepted on Oct. 17 the indictment prepared by a prosecutor’s office against Turan, seeking 12.5 years in jail.
According to local media outlets, on Oct. 10 Turan harassed singer Berkay’s wife, prompting a confrontation in which the footballer head-butted and broke Berkay’s nose.
Turan is currently on a 2.5-year loan to Istanbul club Başaksehir from Spanish football team FC Barcelona. On Oct. 16, Başakşehir announced that they will fine the player 2.5 million Turkish Liras (about 450,000 dollars) for “attitudes incompatible with the club’s values,” though they will keep him as an active player until the sentence.
This is not the first time the footballer, who is known for his spells of success at Galatasaray and Atletico Madrid, is under fire for erratic behavior amid his colorful night life.
In addition to widely-criticized red cards he has received in his career, Turan has also been slammed off the pitch several times.
He has been previously blasted for assaulting teammates and opponents, security personnel, a senior journalist, as well as threatening referees and fans and insulting trainers and club managers.