Turkish university withdraws Hakan Şükür’s honorary doctorate over Gülen ties

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BERN, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 4: Turkish former soccer player Hakan Sukur during the 'Match Against Poverty', a charity soccer match for Philippines, between BSC Young Boys and Friends vs Ronaldo, Zidane and Friends at Stade de Suisse organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bern, Switzerland on March 4, 2014. AFP

The Senate of Turkey’s Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University has unanimously decided to revoke an honorary doctorate granted to renowned Turkish international soccer player Hakan Şükür over alleged ties to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by Turkish authorities of masterminding a failed coup last summer.

In a statement on the university website, the Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Senate said the honorary doctorate, given to Şükür in 2012, was withdrawn due to his support for the Gülen movement.

According to the widely accepted opinion in public and in our university that Hakan Şükür is involved with FETÖ [a derogatory term used by the government to refer to the movement], which has illegally infiltrated the state and other institutions, our university senate decided to withdraw its decision of 2012 that granted an honorary doctorate to him,” the statement said.

Hakan Şükür played for Turkey 112 times and scored 51 international goals. He joined Galatasaray in 1992 and was part of their UEFA Cup-winning team in 2000. He had spells with Torino (in 1995) and later with Inter Milan, Parma and Blackburn Rovers. He scored the fastest-ever World Cup goal, after 11 seconds against South Korea in 2002. Retiring in 2007, he was a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy for two years from 2011.

Şükür was tried in absentia in June 2016 for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on social media. There is currently an arrest warrant outstanding for him in Turkey although he is living in exile.

In late March of this year, Galatasaray expelled Şükür from club membership after facing pressure from the government.

Şükür’s assets have been confiscated by the state and his father, Sermet Şükür, was released after being remanded into custody for three months. He is still on trial due to “terror links.”

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