Turkey to seek extradition of former soccer player believed to be in Greece


A Turkish court has begun extradition proceedings for a former soccer player who is accused of being a member of the Gulen movement, Turkish news site Diken reported on Thursday.

According to the news site, Arif Erdem fled to Greece after Turkish authorities issued a warrant for his arrest in July 2016, shortly after the failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

If convicted, he faces a 15-year jail sentence. Erdem has denied accusations of being a member of any terrorist group.

Turkish news website Ahval says the former athlete spent most of his career as a forward for Istanbul team Galatasaray, winning the UEFA cup with them in 2000.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey since 2016, following a crackdown on supporters of Fetullah Gulen, a self-exiled cleric in the US and founder of the FETO organisation, which Ankara suspects of being the mastermind behind the military overthrow attempt.