By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara
Former Turkish international footballer and Galatasaray striker, Hakan Sukur has quit Erdogan’s Justice & Development Party (AKP). The Turkish government now has a majority of 325 in the 550-seat House as Sukur will remain in Parliament as an independent MP.
Sukuk, who is a member of the Fethullah Gulen Islamic Brotherhood, said in a statement that he resigned “because of the government’s efforts to close down schools owned by the Brotherhood.
The resignation of the veteran footballer is surprising as in 2011 Erdogan had personally invited him to join the party and run in the general election. There are fears that more resignations of MPs close to Fethullah Gulen will follow.
The Erdogan government has announced that it plans to close private schools, a measure which, if implemented, will affect the Gulen Brotherhood as thousands of its schools offer free tutorship to youths as well as religious study courses.
In 2010, Russia had turned down a request for Gulen – sponsored schools to be built in Moscow.