Hakan Sukur, former Turkey football legend, says he is now an Uber driver in the United States of America.
The 48-year-old ex-Turkey striker, who scored the fastest goal in the 2002 FIFA World Cup against South Korea in 10.8 seconds, went on exile after he was accused of participating in a failed coup in July 2016.
In 2011, he had joined Recep Tayyib Erdogan, president of Turkey’s Justice Development Party (AKP).
In an interview with Welt am Sonntag, a German online publication, he disclosed that falling out with Erdogan, a guest at his wedding, has left him with nothing.
The Galatasaray forward, who helped his club to become the first Turkish side to win the UEFA Cup (now called Europa League) in 2000, had his money and assets confiscated.
“Now I drive for Uber and I sell books,” he said.
“I have nothing left, Erdogan took everything: my right to liberty, freedom of expression and right to work.
“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.”
An arrest warrant was issued for Sukur in August 2016 after the failed coup de’tat.
Sukur had ventured into politics after retiring from football in 2008. He, however, left politics two years later due to a reported conflict of opinions.
The former Blackburn Rover’s player scored 51 goals during 112 appearances for Turkey.