Turkish ex-football star Şükür driving Uber in U.S

Retired footballer Hakan Şükür, the most famous Turkish striker of his generation, now works driving an Uber taxi in the United States after fleeing his home country where he faces charges of belonging to a banned Islamist group blamed for a failed 2016 coup attempt, the Sun newspaper reported.

The 48-year-old UEFA cup winner played for Torino and Blackburn Rovers, but spent most of his career at Istanbul club Galatasaray, where he was the Turkish league’s top goal scorer three times. He also scored 51 one goals in 112 matches for the national team before he retired from football in 2008.

Şükür moved to the United States in 2015 and is wanted in Turkey for his connections to the Gülen movement, a religious group formerly allied to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The British newspaper quoted Şükür as saying he drives an Uber cab and sells books to make ends meet. He previously owned a bakery in Palo Alto, California, but closed it down in December 2018.

“Everyone that has a connection with me has financial troubles. I don’t have anything left. I have tens of millions of dollars of property in Turkey, but everything is confiscated,’’ Şükür said. 

The Turkish government issued arrest warrants for Şükür and seized his assets in Turkey after the coup attempt. His father was jailed for nearly a year for links to the Gülen movement. 

Turkish authorities have imprisoned thousands they suspect of being members of the Gülen movement, including many members of the armed forces. Many more have lost their jobs for similar reasons, whilst assets worth billions of dollars have been seized from businesses connected to the movement.