Iran releases soccer player ahead of match against U.S.
The Associated Press
Updated: 5:36 p.m. ET Oct. 30, 2013
GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Turkey’s president says the country is ready to resume talks with the United States about the fate of a jailed American pastor despite a U.S. plea for his immediate release and warnings that the soccer star accused of plotting terror attacks would pose a threat to Turkey’s national team.
President Abdullah Gul said at a news conference Monday that he was not worried about the risk of a player being able to play in a match against the United States on Thursday. But he said he would not allow the case to be “passed off as some sort of political issue.”
President Gul told Turkish media on Monday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry should know that the issue of Turkish soccer player Omer Sadek’s release had nothing to do with politics.
Instead, he said, Sadek’s release was about ensuring that the United States’ interests were protected. He said if Kerry doesn’t do that, then Turkey will not talk to the U.S. about Sadek’s case.
Sadek is accused of being a member of a terror cell with ties to al Qaeda that is planning attacks inside Turkey.
He was arrested in April for illegally possessing firearms. He was taken to a prison on the island of Imrali, where he is held on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, and then transferred to the city of Gaziantep in September for his trial.
“The American government should, in fact, be worried about Omer Sadek. We are, and this is a big problem, as far as Turkey’s interests are considered,” he told reporters.
He said Turkey had to be absolutely sure Turkey had no chance of being attacked by the United States or any other country. He said if there was a possibility that Sadek could harm Turkish interests, then the Turkish authorities should not even have allowed