Galatasaray censors Hakan Şükür in UEFA cup photos on anniversary of win

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Hakan Şükür and Arif Erdem were part of the Galatasaray when the club won UEFA Cup after beating Arsenal in the final 17 May 2000 in Copenhagen. / AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GEORGE

On the 20th anniversary of Turkish football team Galatasaray winning the UEFA cup, the team has censored Turkish football legend Hakan Şükür in photos and video related to the UEFA championship, apparently because Şükür has been labelled as a “terrorist” by the Turkish government.

May 17 was the 20th anniversary of Galatasaray’s UEFA championship. To mark the anniversary, the team posted photos on Twitter of the excited football players who were holding up the UEFA cup at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, where Galatasaray played and won against Arsenal. However, Şükür, who played an important role in the team’s UEFA success and scored the highest number of goals, was absent from the photos and a video from the day of the victory.

The former striker, who netted 51 goals in his 112 appearances playing for Turkey, making him the nation’s all-time top goal scorer, is being targeted by the Turkish government due to his links to the Gülen movement, inspired by the views of the Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

As part of a large-scale crackdown on the movement’s members, an arrest warrant was issued for Şükür who moved to the US in 2015 and the government confiscated all of his houses, businesses and bank accounts in Turkey.

Commenting about his former team censoring him in the UEFA victory photos and video, Şükür tweeted, “The time will come when I will tell the real story of this cup we proudly won and under what circumstances it was won. Let me tell this to the cowards who failed to mention the name of someone who scored the highest number of goals in the struggle to win the cup. History is written once, and it was we who wrote it.”

Şükür also posted a photo of him with the UEFA cup.

In 2017 the board of the Galatasaray Sports Club expelled Şükür and Arif Erdem, another alleged Gülen follower, from the team’s membership under heavy government pressure.

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