Former Turkish footballer arrested over FETÖ links

Former Turkish footballer arrested over FETÖ links

Former Turkish footballer arrested over FETÖ links

Former footballer Zafer Biryol, who was wanted for “being a member of an armed terrorist organization,” has been caught in an operation against FETÖ’s “football structure” in Istanbul’s Büyükçekmece district.

He was found to attend the FETÖ’s meetings, visit Fethullah Gülen, the ringleader of the organization, in 2006 and have an account in Bank Asya, a FETÖ-linked bank.

Biryol, who had been previously ordered a prison sentence, was arrested by the court.

He was accused of downloading and sending messages through the ByLock messaging app, which the authorities suspect was used by Gülen’s supporters to coordinate the coup bid.

The file included information that he gave awards to the winners in the football tournament organized by the course operating on behalf of FETÖ in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece between 2012 and 2014.

A hearing of his case, together with five other footballers - Bekir İrtegün, Uğur Boral, Ersin Güreler, İsmail Şengün and Ömer Çatkıç - took place in October 2018, during which the suspects were reported to have given the names of many prominent footballers linked to the group.

Several players have been investigated in what prosecutors call a “structure” within football set up by Gülen to infiltrate the Turkish game.

Prosecutors have asked for jail sentences between seven-and-a-half to 15 years for the footballers on charges of “membership of an armed terror group.”

Charged in a separate case is former star striker Hakan Şükür, who currently lives in the United States.

The FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gülen, orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 were wounded.

Some 332,000 people linked with FETÖ have been detained and some 19,000 are serving prison terms, Soylu said in July.