Footballer-turned-politician Hakan Şükür’s name removed from stadium
ISTANBULEx-professional footballer Hakan Şükür’s name has been removed from a stadium in Istanbul’s Sancaktepe neighborhood, almost four months after he resigned from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Şükür, an Istanbul deputy known to be a close follower of the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, had sided with the Gülen movement against the AKP one day before the massive graft investigation against government ministers and prominent businessmen was launched on Dec. 17, 2013. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had upped the ante soon afterwards by calling on Şükür to resign from Parliament, too.
Arguably the most successful football player of his generation, if not the whole of Turkish football history, Şükür’s new-found political career as a now independent lawmaker continues with controversies, just like his football days.
Some 10 days after the local elections, the Sancaktepe municipality sent a team of workers to Sancaktepe Hakan Şükür Stadium on the evening of April 8 to change the nameplate, according to a report by Fstatsporhaber. The UEFA and FIFA-approved venue, which was named after Şükür on its inauguration in 2010, is now called Sancaktepe Municipality Stadium.
Şükür, 42, shared the daily Hürriyet news article about the name change on his Twitter account with his 746,000 followers. “Rather than having your portrait on the wall, make your name heard in the world,” he said.
The former Galatasaray, Inter and Blackburn player had won a total of 14 major titles during his career, including 1999–2000 UEFA Cup.