Istanbul - Turkish police on Thursday detained a former
prominent footballer from the Istanbul giants Galatasaray on suspicion of links
to the group blamed for the July 15 failed coup.
Ismail Demiriz, who played for Galatasaray from 1984-1993 as
well as 27 times for the Turkish national side, was detained in the Istanbul
district of Bakirkoy, the Dogan news agency reported.
He is suspected of links to the group of the US-based
preacher Fethullah Gulen which Ankara blames for the botched putsch aimed at
overthrowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gulen denies the charges.
Demiriz had already been briefly detained earlier this month
along with another former Galatasaray player Ugur Tutuneker.
Both were later released but the CNN-Turk channel said
prosecutors had appealed against Demiriz's release and a new arrest warrant was
issued for him.
Over 20,000 people are still believed to be held under
arrest in the wake of the coup in a crackdown that has caused international
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The crackdown had also touched sport last month with the
authorities issuing an arrest warrant for former star footballer Hakan Sukur
who played a key role in Turkey's glorious run to third place in the 2002 World
Sukur, also a former a stalwart for Galatasaray, is now
based in the United States.
The family of Enes Kanter, one of the most prominent Turkish
basketball players in the NBA, disowned him after he openly supported Gulen
following the coup.
Galatasaray had said late Wednesday they were expelling from
the club's membership Sukur, Demiriz and another former national player Arif
Erdem over their alleged links to the Gulen movement.
Demiriz, 54, was a defender seen as a backbone of the tough
Galatasaray side in his playing days.For
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