Briefly detained Turkish football player turns informant

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Turkey's national football team head coach Fatih Terim (L) and his players Bekir Irtegün (C) and Burak Yilmaz (R) attend a press conference at the Hasan Doğan National Teams Training and Education Facilities ahead of an international friendly match against Brazil on November 11, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. AFP

Former Başakşehir and Fenerbahçe football player Bekir İrtegün, who was briefly detained on Friday over links to the Gülen movement, was released after sharing information about his ties to the movement, a Monday report in the pro-government Sabah daily said..

According to the story, İrtegün was released on Saturday after he admitted his ties to the movement and provided detailed information about it to the prosecutor’s office during his testimony.

İrtegün turned himself in on Friday evening and was released on Saturday after testifying before a prosecutor for using the ByLock smartphone application, which Turkish authorities believe is a secret communication method for members of the Gülen movement, accused by the government of being behind a failed coup in 2016.

The movement denies any involvement.

İrtegün had previously tried to leave Turkey but was prevented by police, who said he was prohibited from going abroad.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested since the failed coup for using ByLock.

The military coup attempt on July 15 killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by the views of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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