Former Fenerbahce footballer Sezer Ozturk could face 32 years in prison for allegedly shooting dead a father-of-two in his native Turkey.
Ozturk has been accused of killing Halil Ibrahim Scholten with a firearm in Istanbul last September following an apparent road rage incident.
The 36-year-old had been returning home to a rental house along with his wife, three children and their nanny inside the same car at the time of the fatality.
His friend, Omer Genc – who may be jailed for 28 years – followed in a separate vehicle with his two children and his wife.
It is alleged that, after an argument broke out over cars blocking a road near to the property, punches were thrown, with shots later ringing out.
Ozturk claims he asked the other drivers to move out of the way, but was told ‘to wait’. After 10 minutes, he says that he asked them again, only to be insulted.
Ex-Fenerbahce footballer Sezer Ozturk could face 32 years in prison after a shooting incident
‘Because I had my family with me, I stayed calm, but my one-and-a-half-year-old child was crying in the car, I had to go home,’ he told the court.
‘There was no other way to go.
‘And then finally someone stuck his head in the window on my wife’s side of the car and cursed.’
He went on to add: ‘We do not use foul language when there are women and children around. We live for our honour.
‘I took his insults in my stride because I realised that they were drunk. I got out of the car when I realised that one of them opened the back door.
‘As soon as I got out, someone punched me, they started hitting me with the wheel wrench. Someone threw a chair at me.
Ozturk is accused of killing a father-of-two following apparent road rage in Istanbul, Turkey
‘I learned that the deceased also had two children, but I did not initiate this, I am not responsible for it.’
Alleging he was struck multiple times, Ozturk went on to claim that Genc got out of his car and opened fire with a gun, shooting multiple shots into the air.
The footballer, who played 15 times for Fenerbahce between 2011 and 2013, said the other group broke up, but a white pickup truck then drove at him, crushing his foot.
After leaving their families at home, Ozturk and Genc say they then left for a hospital, although the former alleges their route was blocked by a group including Scholten.
According to his claims, the group were armed with sticks and sharp objects. Genc is alleged to have said ‘there is a gun’ while Ozturk headed towards the victim.
Ozturk says he opened fire without aiming, with around 10 to 12 shots from him and his friend being sent up into the air. One of them struck Scholten, however.
Genc alleged that a large group had attacked them, causing him to fear for his life.
However, the statement from the defendants does not appear to match the indictment drawn up by the Anatolian Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The 36-year-old (left) has also played for the likes of Bayer Leverkusen and 1. FC Nurnberg
The document laid out how Ozturk and Genc argued with Scholten before they ran up behind him with a gun, aimed at him and fired six shots in total.
Ozturk is accused of ‘deliberately killing under unjust provocation’, ‘deliberately wounding with a gun under unjust provocation’, ‘damaging property under unjust provocation’ and ‘repeatedly threatening with a gun’.
It is also alleged that his firearm was unlicensed.
As such, the Public Prosecutor has demanded that Ozturk be imprisoned for 32 years and nine months, while Genc is facing a sentence of 28 years and one month.
The defendants asked to be released, but the court said they will remain detained.
The hearing was adjourned after a request from Ozturk’s lawyer for further investigations at the crime scene was dismissed.