Turkey international goalkeeper, club chairman testify over Gülen allegations

Turkey international goalkeeper, club chairman testify over Gülen allegations

Turkey international goalkeeper, club chairman testify over Gülen allegations Former Turkish international goalkeeper Ömer Çatkıç has been detained for alleged links to the network of Fethullah Gülen, the main suspect in the cases into last years’ coup attempt, while Ahmet Şan, the chairman of Turkish First Division club Konyaspor, has testified to prosecutors over similar allegations. 

Both men reportedly testified on Aug. 21 over claims that they had ByLock, a messaging application used almost exclusively by members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), installed on their phones.

The 42-year-old Çatkıç, who ended his career at Antalyaspor in 2012, was detained by police in Istanbul, while Şan testified in the Central Anatolian province of Konya. Police searched Şan’s house and seized his phone. 

Çatkıç is not the first Turkey international footballer who has faced charges over links to the Gülen movement. Most recently, Bekir İrtegün, who was released by his club Başakşehirspor on July 10, was detained in Istanbul on July 28 and released the next day.

Hakan Şükür, a former Galatasaray and Turkish national team striker, was the first to be charged by prosecutors over Gülen links just days after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. 

Şükür and Arif Erdem, another Galatasaray legend who faces the same charges, remain at large.

Former Galatasaray defender İsmail Demiriz, who was arrested in September last year, was released in February this year while Uğur Tütüneker was released after briefly being detained.

After testifying to police on Aug. 22, Şan announced that he had resigned as chairman of Konyaspor.

Konyaspor has been on the agenda due to violence on the pitch when its supporters clashed with defending champion Beşiktaş in the Turkish Super Cup on Aug. 6 in the Black Sea province of Samsun. 

Brawls erupted after the match when fans of both teams, though predominantly from Konyaspor, burst onto the pitch. 

Şan said after the game that fans were “provoked” by Beşiktaş fans’ banner supporting two educators who have been on hunger strike for over 150 days, with the authorities accusing the two of being members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

Konyaspor was ordered to play five home games without fans after the violence.