Galatasaray and Turkey legend Hakan Sukur has opened up on the unfortunate journey that now sees him driver an Uber in the United States.
The former striker, who also played for Inter Milan and Blackburn Rovers, moved into politics after retiring from football, but a falling out with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has apparently left him with nothing.
Sukur, who scored 51 goals in 112 appearances for his country, joined Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2011, but quit two years later due to a reported conflict of opinions.
In a recent interview with German publication Welt am Sonntag, the 48-year-old explained how difficult his life has been since he was accused of participating in a failed coup.
“I have nothing left, Erdogan took everything: my right to liberty, freedom of expression and right to work,” Sukur is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
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“Nobody seems able to explain what my role in this coup was supposed to be. I never did anything illegal, I am not a traitor or a terrorist.
“I might be an enemy [of] this government, but not the state or the Turkish nation. I love my country.
“After the split with Erdogan, I started to receive threats. My wife's shop was attacked, my children were harassed, my father put in prison and all my assets confiscated.
“So I moved to the United States, initially running a cafe in California, but strange people kept coming into the bar. Now I drive for Uber and I sell books.”
It’s a bizarre and sorry story.
Sukur is still fondly remembered by football fans in Turkey, after scoring crucial goals for the national team and starring for them at the 2002 World Cup.
He spearheaded Turkey’s attack at the tournament in Japan and South Korea, guiding them to a third-placed finish.
Sukur scored against South Korea in the third place playoff as Senol Gunes’ side defeated the hosts 3-2.News Now - Sport News