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Arrest warrant issued for football star Şükür for insulting Erdoğan

Turkish former football player Hakan Şükür celebrates after scoring a goal 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. Mustafa Yalcin / Anadolu Agency

An arrest warrant has been issued for renowned Turkish international soccer player Hakan Şükür for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his son on his Twitter account, the Evrensel daily reported on Tuesday.

An İstanbul court decided to issue an arrest warrant for Şükür for failing to attend court hearings and whose address in US could not be found despite court orders to ascertain it.

Şükür, who is living in exile, did not attend his trial at the Bakırköy 28th Criminal Court of First Instance. Erdoğan was represented by his lawyer Ferah Yıldız.

Bekir Savran, who attended the hearing as a witness, claimed that Şükür showed him videos with insulting remarks about Erdoğan and his son.

The trial will be continued in November.

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.

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 due to his links to the Gülen movement and his father, Sermet Şükür, was released after being remanded into custody for three months. He is still on trial due to “terror links.”

The government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt last July, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

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