ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Turkish NBA player says he will continue to fight for human rights and freedoms after his father was charged in Turkey on Monday with “membership in a terrorist organization.”
Enes Kanter of the American National Basketball Association’s (NBA) New York Knicks, who has criticized current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the past, believes his father was targeted due to that criticism.
“No matter what happens, I will continue to keep fighting for human rights and freedom of speech; justice and democracy above all,” the athlete said in a statement to ESPN.
“I will stand for what I believe in. All I’m doing is trying to be the voice of all those innocent people,” Kanter added.
Prosecutors accuse the NBA player’s father, Mehmet Kanter, of having contacts with over 100 people linked to the banned US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen who the Turkish government blames for a failed military coup attempt in July 2016.
Mehmet faces up to 10 years in prison and was previously detained for five days in 2017, according to Turkish media.
I will continue to keep fighting for Human Rights and Freedom of Speech— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) June 18, 2018
Justice and Democracy above all.I will stand for what I believe in.All I’m doing is trying to be voice of innocent people
Keep my family,innocent people in your prayers 🙏#DictatorErdogan 🇹🇷@RT_Erdogan pic.twitter.com/i7kK3mwKND
The 26-year-old basketball player, meanwhile, faces jail time of his own. In December 2017, a prosecutor in Turkey requested Enes be jailed for up to four years for insulting Erdogan.
Prosecutors said the NBA star used Twitter to “defame and deride” the Turkish President.
“I have said less than that honorless (man) deserves. Add another [four] years for me, master,” Enes tweeted in response to the reports demanding his arrest.
The New York Knicks star is a long-time supporter of Gulen whose extradition Ankara is seeking despite the Islamic cleric’s denial he was involved in the failed coup.