A Turkish court has begun extradition proceedings for Turkish former international football player Arif Erdem, who reportedly resides in Greece, Turkish news website Diken says.
Erdem faces a possible 15-year prison sentence in Turkey for alleged membership in the outlawed “Fatih Gulen” religious movement, classified by Turkey as a terrorist organization.
A warrant to detain Erdem was issued in July 2016, days after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, allegedly carried out by members of the Gulen movement. Erdem is said to have fled across the border shortly afterwards, and reportedly currently resides in Greece, the Diken report says.
Erdem is one of several Turkish footballers allegedly involved with the movement. The footballer himself has denied of being part of any organization that would harm his homeland.
Erdem, who had 60 appearances with Turkey’s national team, spent the longest part of his career as a forward for the Istanbul team Galatasaray, winning the UEFA cup with them in 2000.