The Turks Arda Turan once played for FC Barcelona, ​​was considered the best football player of his country, President Erdogan was at his wedding best man. Now he faces imprisonment.

By Tobias Schächter, Munich / Istanbul

Arda Turan took a seat on the outside bench and joked with his teammates as if nothing had happened. For the first time after a suspension of 16 games, which was later reduced to ten, was the best footballer of Turkey this Saturday again in the squad of his club Istanbul Basaksehir FK. The 31-year-old striker was not used in a 1-0 win against Kayserispor, the Basaksehir catapulted to second place behind Galatasaray. Arda's appearance was unusual, however, not because he appeared in the flashlight of the Süperlig after his suspension because of the physical threat of a referee. After the incidents last week in a Nobel club in Istanbul, Arda's cadence nomination seemed absurd. But coach Abdullah Avci just said Arda was in a good mood. But the former captain of the Turkish national team made headlines in the last two years only by scandals off the green grass. And last week the deep fall of the Turkish strongman reached a new low.

Discretion is the trademark of "Gizli Kalsın". This is appreciated by the stars and celebrities celebrating in this trendy store in the posh district of Emirgan on the European side of Istanbul. "Gizli Kalsın" means "It should be kept secret". And yet, nothing was kept secret that took place at the beginning of last week in this club and Arda Turan has brought charges of sexual harassment, unauthorized possession of weapons and intentional assault. The Istanbul Procuratorate demands twelve and a half years in prison for the 31-year-old football player.

On this fateful Tuesday, in addition to Arda's entourage, the pop singer Berkay Sahin, 36, famous in Turkey, was in "Gizli Kalsın" with his wife and friends. According to Turkish media reports, a dispute arose between Arda and Berkay after the footballer had turned on the singer's wife. She told her husband that Arda had told her that if he was not married, he would not be able to pass a woman like her. It came to insults and fisticuffs, Arda broke Berkay finally with a head butt the nose, whereupon the singer drove to the hospital. But this story does not end here.

Arda followed Berkay to the hospital and asked for forgiveness – apparently with a pistol in his hand. "I did not know that was your wife, kill me!" Arda said to Berkay. He declined this crazy request, the two argued further and then at some point a shot was released. Why is not clear. But the fact is: Arda was then interrogated for three hours by the police, the prosecutor brought charges against him. And Berkay sued the footballer, according to Turkish newspapers on pain and suffering in the amount of one million Turkish Lira, the equivalent of about 150 000 €. Ardas club Istanbul Basaksehir FK has condemned the pro to pay the record 2.5 million lira penalty and "will continue to fine as long as legal action is taken against our player". FC Barcelona also expressed its displeasure over the behavior of Arda, who has borrowed from the Catalan Grand Club to the small, government-affiliated Istanbul Retort Club.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was Arda Turan's best man

Apparently, Arda has not coped with his rise to superstar. First he was loved and coddled, later demonized as a new rich star. Football-crazy Turkey knows only the extremes in the evaluation of its footballers, the players are difficult to deal with criticism, and prominent footballers are always involved in brawls and scandals.

Arda celebrated his international breakthrough at the 2008 European Championships in Austria and Switzerland, Turkey failed then only in the semifinals to Germany, the talent of Galatasaray was the celebrated foster son of coach Fatih Terim. But their relationship broke during the Euro 2016 in France in the breaks. Arda, now captain of the national team, was mocked by the public and the fans as a scapegoat for the preliminaries. At that time, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan jumped to his side and rebuked those who whistled at him during the preliminary round matches.

Erdogan continued to be his favorite player when, a year after the European Championship, he choked on a journalist who had reported on players' high premium claims during the European Championship in France. Arda was then insulted back from the national team because he did not feel the support of the association and Terim. He then made a controversial comeback under Mircea Lucescu. The fame finally took this high-talented guy off his feet as he moved from Atlético Madrid to FC Barcelona, ​​but never made his breakthrough alongside Messi.

Now it has become lonely about Arda. Also Erdogan, in March still best man Ardas at its dazzling wedding, silent. That the former footballer and well-known TV commentator Ridvan Dilmen publicly distanced himself from Arda, is not a good sign for the deeply fallen player. Dilmen is regarded as close to the government and mentor of the AKP-loyal kicker around Arda and striker Burak Yilmaz, who was present at the incident in "Gizli Kalsın". How things are going on with Arda's cursory career may well depend on the legal developments in his case.



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