Oklahoma City Thunder big man Enes Kanter’s father has been released after spending almost a week in Turkish police custody for alleged subversion, but still must report regularly to local authorities, according to an Associated Press translation of a report by Turkey’s independent Dogan news agency.
A Turkish court ordered university professor Mehmet Kanter’s supervised release on Wednesday, Dogan reported, via the AFP News Agency. His NBA playing son made news of the arrest public last week, tweeting on June 2, “MY DAD HAS BEEN ARRESTED,” and, “He is potentially to get tortured.”
The elder Kanter was reportedly arrested under suspicion of ties to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish native who has lived in self-exposed exile in Pennsylvania since the late 1990s and stands accused by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan of orchestrating the failed 2016 coup against him.
The 7-foot younger Kanter has been a devout supporter of Gulen’s opposition, even calling Erdogan “the Hitler of our century,” and his family reportedly disowned him over those political views last year. “I apologize to the Turkish people and the president for having such a son,” Mehmet told Turkey’s “pro-government” Daily Sabah in August 2016. To which his son replied he “would sacrifice my mother, father and whole family for Gulen’s sake” in a statement signed “Enes (Kanter) GULEN” last August.
“Right now, even if I try to communicate with my parents, my mom or dad or brother or sister, [the government] will probably listen to their phones and as soon as they are in contact with me, they will put them in a jail — and the jails are not fun,” Enes said last week, via ESPN.com’s Royce Young. “Right now, my family can’t even go out to eat. My brother told me that my dad went to the supermarket and they spit on his face.”
Enes Kanter has been subjected to death threats and, he believes, left off Turkey’s national team for his political views. The Swiss-born Turkish citizen evaded Turkey’s secret service during an Indonesian stop on his charitable foundation’s tour in May, only to be detained in a Romanian airport en route back to the U.S. after Turkey revoked his passport. He was released hours later once members of the U.S. government, NBA, National Basketball Players Association and Thunder intervened on his behalf.
I'm being held at Romanian airport by Police!! pic.twitter.com/uYZMBqKx54
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) May 20, 2017
The Turkish government issued an arrest warrant for the younger Kanter a week later, citing his “membership of an armed terrorist organisation.” To which Enes responded on Twitter, “You can’t catch me. Don’t waste your breath.” A week after that, Mehmet Kanter was arrested in Turkey.
In the meantime, U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed Erdogan — whom Enes Kanter describes as “a bad, bad man” and “a dictator — into the White House for a visit marred by the Turkish president’s security detail assaulting a number of protesters as he looked on outside the White House grounds:
Enes Kanter has accused Erdogan of orchestrating the same failed 2016 coup that Gulen has denied any involvement in, citing the Turkish president’s consolidation of power in the aftermath as motive.
Oddly, fellow NBA player Bojan Bogdanovic was vacationing on Turkey’s Aegean Sea last July, near where Erdogan claims military personnel tried bombing his hotel. Bogdanovic fled the area by boat.
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