Nonsuit for former Galatasaray players in FETÖ probe

Published 22.11.2018 00:00
Updated 22.11.2018 00:08

Prosecutors ruled for a nonsuit in a case against Arda Turan and Okan Buruk, former football players for Galatasaray who were accused of being members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).

Turan, who currently plays for Medipol Başakşehir and Buruk, who coaches the Super League team Çaykur Rizespor, faced investigations after a secret witness testified that the two had ties to the group blamed for July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

Prosecutors in the western city of İzmir, where the witness gave his testimony, said the accusations were not tangible, pointing out that Turan was only 10-years-old and was not part of Galatasaray at the time the witness claimed he joined the group.

Turan and Buruk regularly attended meetings with Fetullah Gülen, the fugitive leader of the terrorist group, according to secret witness. Okan Buruk was already granted a nonsuit in another investigation last year.

FETÖ, a terrorist group with infiltrators practically everywhere, from law enforcement to the judiciary, faced a heightened crackdown after the 2016 coup attempt. Footballers were among the thousands detained for links to the group in the aftermath of the coup attempt. A number of sportsmen were investigated for the "football structure" of the terrorist group.

FETÖ, which posed as a charity with religious undertones for decades, sought to expand its clout in Turkish football as well, prosecutors believe.

One of Turkey's "Big Three" teams, Fenerbahçe claimed that they were the victims of a plot by prosecutors, judges and police chiefs loyal to the group who prosecuted and jailed its former Chairman Aziz Yıldırım on match-fixing charges in 2012. Bekir İrtegün, who played for Fenerbahçe for six years before joining Medipol Başakşehir and Zafer Biryol, who played a season for the team, are among the defendants in the FETÖ cases. Biryol and Ömer Çatkıç, who was capped 19 times in the Turkish national team, are the only suspects in jail while the rest were freed pending trial after they confessed ties to the group.

The investigations are still underway for other suspects in FETÖ's football-related cases. Authorities have already issued arrest warrants for Hakan Şükür and Arif Erdem, two former Galatasaray players. Şükür lives in the U.S. like FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen, while Erdem is believed to have fled to Europe.

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