Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter released a statement on Friday indicating that his father, Mehmet, had been arrested by the Turkish government and could potentially be tortured over comments that the NBA star made on social media that were critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime.
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) June 2, 2017
“My father is arrested because of my outspoken criticism of the ruling party. He may get tortured for simply being my family member,” Kanter said. “For a second please think and imagine, if something like this is happening to an NBA player, what is happening to the people with no voice or podium to speak on?”
“There could be hundreds of thousands of people that are detained, tortured, or murdered that we are not hearing about,” he added.
The Anadolu news agency revealed that Mehmet Kanter was detained in his hometown of Istanbul and will be sent to Tekirdag province for questioning, all stemming from an investigation that was undertaken by a prosecutor’s office in northwestern Turkey.
Enes Kanter believes that it is his support of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish spiritual leader who has been exiled in Pennsylvania for nearly two decades, that landed his father in hot water.
“The police raided our home in Istanbul, something that is happening to many innocent families across Turkey just because they are members of Hizmet, inspired by Scholar Fethullah Gulen,” Kanter said. Gulen was blamed for last year’s attempted military coup but has soundly denied involvement.
Both Kanter and his father have noted that the NBA player has been disowned by his family for his anti-Erdogan views, with the two not having spoken for over two years. The Turkish government issued an arrest warrant for the younger Kanter last week that claimed he is part of a terrorist group. The warrant will most likely complicate Kanter’s ability to travel internationally.