11.03.2018 22:10 h

Erdogan witness as Turkey footballer Turan marries

Turkish star midfielder Arda Turan on Sunday married his long term girlfriend in Istanbul, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acting as his marriage witness, reports said.

Erdogan's presence as witness at the marriage of Turan to his partner of the last two and a half years Aslihan Dogan was a striking symbol of the hardman footballer's close ties with the Turkish president.

The small scale marriage ceremony took place in the Cubuklu district of Istanbul and was also attended by Erdogan's wife Emine, the Hurriyet daily said on its website, with a picture showing the high-profile guests at the ceremony.

Turan has repeatedly expressed strong support for Erdogan, attending rallies to back "my commander-in-chief" following the July 2016 attempted coup.

He also made headlines in Turkish media earlier this month by saying it would not be appropriate to have a full scale wedding as Turkey was "at war", referring to its military operation in Syria against Kurdish militia.

Turan has strongly supported the operation and made a military salute to the soldiers after scoring a goal.

Turan, 31, joined the fast-rising Turkish side Basaksehir in January on a two-and-a-half-year loan deal from Barcelona.

He joined Barcelona in 2015 after four successful seasons with Atletico Madrid but was unable to hold down a first-team place.

Basaksehir have risen rapidly over the last two seasons to rival the established Istanbul triumvirate of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.

Formerly known as Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi Spor (IBB), the club changed their name in 2014 to Basaksehir.

Basaksehir are in third place in the Turkish league and remain in contention for the title despite a 4-1 away drubbing at the hands of Alanyaspor on Friday.