Father of NBA′s Enes Kanter indicted in Turkey | News | DW | 19.06.2018
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Father of NBA's Enes Kanter indicted in Turkey

A Turkish court has indicted Mehmet Kanter, a former professor and father of a player for the New York Knicks, on charges of belonging to a terrorist group. His son, Enes Kanter, has been a vocal critic of Recep Erdogan.

A court in Turkey has indicted the father of NBA player Enes Kanter with "membership in a terror group," Turkish official news agency Andalou reported on Monday.

Prosecutors are seeking a 5- to 10-year-prison term for Mehmet Kanter, following an investigation over his criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and ties to the US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, Anadolu Agency said.

The trial is set to take place western Tekirdag province, but no information was provided on when it would begin.

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According to Anadolu, authorities accuse Mehmet Kanter of having contacted 120 suspects with alleged links to Gulen, including dozens who are said to have communicated through an encrypted messaging application.

Mehmet Kanter is a former professor who was expelled from public service and imprisoned for five days in the summer of 2017 over his ties to Gulen. Kanter's whereabouts are not known, but US sports broadcaster ESPN reported that he is not currently in Turkey, citing his son's manager, Hank Fetic.

The Turkish government believes that Fethullah Gulen is behind the attempted military coup in 2016 against Erdogan's government.

More than 50,000 people have been arrested in Turkey under a state of emergency that was declared after the coup, for alleged ties to Gulen. The Turkish government has said that the crackdown was necessary to fight alleged acts of terror.

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Strong critic of Erdogan

Enes Kanter, a former Oklahoma City Thunder center currently with the New York Knicks, has been a longtime vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The 26-year-old basketball player took to Twitter to denounce the charges and criticize the Turkish government. "Erdogan has persecuted hundreds of thousands of people, including my father," Kanter said.

The NBA player also accused Turkey of jailing more than a hundred journalists, saying that "freedom of expression is under constant attack by Erdogan's government." He said he was only trying to lend a voice to innocent people and pledged to continue working on behalf of human rights in Turkey.

Kanter's passport was canceled by Turkish authorities in May 2017 and his Twitter account is currently banned in Turkey.

jcg/kms (AP, Reuters)

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