SportsFrom World Cup hero to an exile. How did Hakan Sukur's life turn upside down?

From World Cup hero to an exile. How did Hakan Sukur's life turn upside down?

In the photo: Hakan Sukur
In the photo: Hakan Sukur
Images source: © Getty Images

4:11 PM EDT, April 24, 2024

The World Cup's quickest goal scorer, Hakan Sukur, has been unable to return to his homeland for years due to terrorism charges. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan aims to imprison him, much like what happened to his father.

In the 2002 World Cup in Korea, Turkey emerged as the tournament's surprise, finishing in third place. Among their standout players was Hakan Sukur, who scored the fastest goal in World Cup history just 11 seconds into the bronze medal match, a record that still stands today.

In Turkey, Sukur could face imprisonment or even the death penalty due to a fallout with Erdogan over accusations of terrorism linked to cleric Fethullah Gulen's alleged coup attempt in 2016. Sukur was forced to flee Turkey, losing his citizenship, businesses, and bank accounts in the process.

Now that he lives in the United States, he is starting anew, working as an Uber driver and selling books. Sukur vows not to return to Turkey as long as Erdogan remains in power, having seen his father die in prison due to similar circumstances.

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