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Turkey’s Ex-footballers Face Jail Terms Over Gulen Ties

A number of football players who once played for the Turkish national team face up to 15 years in jail over alleged links to Gulen Movement blamed by the Turkish authorities for a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

Turkish prosecutors previously launched a probe against a number of players for their affiliation with the movement. Prosecutors charged them with membership to an “armed terror organization” and “abetting and aiding a terror group.”

The players include memorable names such as goalkeeper Omer Catkic, former top scorer of the Turkish League Zafer Biryol who also played for Istanbul side Fenerbahce, Ugur Boral who played both for Fenerbahce and Besiktas, Bekir Irtegun who played for Fenerbahce.

Catkic took part among Turkey’s legendary generation when he was part of the team won third place in 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Players took part in charity activities organized by Gulen Movement. Catkic is accused of making a donation to Bank Asya when then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s government tried to sink the bank.

Both Catkic and Biryol are currently in prison pending trial while other players have been previously detained and released.

They are under legal supervision.

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