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The State Of Emergency In Turkey Has Footballers Fleeing The Country

It’s not a pretty sight when off-field issues drive players away from their clubs. From threats made by supporters to financial troubles within the club, we’ve seen all kinds of reasons for players to push for moves away from their current teams. 

However, in the past few years, we’ve seen a rise in the number of players who’ve left in fear because of political unrest threatening their own personal safety.

We saw that happen during the Ukrainian crisis not too long ago, and, unfortunately, we are watching a similar scenario unfold in Turkey. 

Since the failed coup attempt the reports of players trying to get out of the country has risen. Here are a few of the most recognizable names who have already left or are looking to leave Turkey:

#1: Mario Gomez | Besiktas

It was a difficult decision that I had to think about a lot. I have to tell you Besiktas fans personally that it is very heavy for me that I will not be playing for this great club in front of you wonderful fans in this unique stadium anymore. The reason for this is completely down to the political situation! There are no sporting or any other reasons that have made me make this decision. It is purely down to the terrible events that happened in the last few days. I hope you can understand that! I huge thanks to the club, to you fans and to all the people with whom my family and I had a lot of wonderful times! It was a fantastic year with the Championship providing the absolute highlight. I hope that these political problems can be solved in a peaceful manner soon. Then it would be my great wish to play for Besiktas again! The club and the country grew very close to my heart in this past year. Hope to see you again soon. 

A photo posted by Mario Gomez (@mario) on

This was the letter the Mario Gomez left his fans on Instagram regarding his decision not to return to Besiktas. 

Gomez led Besiktas to the Super Lig title in 2015-16, scoring a league-high 26 goals, six more than the runner-up Samuel Eto’o, who finished the season with 20. 


#2: Diego | Fenerbahce

Turkey state of emergency

Diego arrives at Flamengo. Photo: @iFlamengoNews | Twitter

You remember him, right? It’s hard to figure out if Diego was Robinho’s side-kick back when they started playing for Santos or vice-versa. 

Nevertheless, unlike his speedy counterpart, Diego never got the chances Robinho did to play for major clubs or to play regularly for the national team. He bounced around Europe, playing for Porto, Werder Bremen, Juventus, Wolfsburg, and Atletico Madrid before landing in Turkey to play for Fenerbahce.  

Despite not having a great buzz around him, Diego has had a successful career wherever he's went, winning league titles in Brazil, Portugal, and Spain. 

There was an interest in taking him back to Brazil as soon as the transfer window opened, as well as offers from MLS. But it was when the military coup attempt occured that Diego and his representatives sped up negotiations. 

The creative playmaker ended up signing a three-year contract with Flamengo. 

#3: Jose Ernesto Sosa | Besiktas

Turkey state of emergency

Photo: @ItalianFD | Twitter

Another South American that wanted out of Turkey is former Argentina international Jose Sosa. Unlike Diego, Sosa’s wish to move away from Besiktas came earlier than the military coup attempt. The player asked to be allowed to leave after the terrorist attacks that hit Istanbul’s airport. 

"I would like to inform everybody about my situation," Sosa wrote on Twitter (h/t ESPN FC). "I've asked Besiktas to be allowed to leave. I have done it for personal reasons with my family. My wife is scared of living in Istanbul, in Turkey, and even I am afraid for my children.

"The recent attack on the airport was particularly close to us because my agents arrived only two hours later. After what happened, my family and I have decided to leave Istanbul. I have two children, and they are a miracle which I want to protect. My priority is my family, football comes next."

Like Gomez, Sosa played a key role in Besiktas’ Super Lig title, scoring seven goals and providing twelve assists. 

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