OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Thunder center Enes Kanter’s father has been detained in Turkey, the country’s official news agency reported Friday.
Mehmet Kanter was detained in his Istanbul home for an investigation undertaken by a prosecutor’s office in northwestern Turkey, according to the Anadolu news agency. He is being sent to Tekirdag province for questioning. In Turkey, people are detained, then prosecutors may seek an arrest pending trial or release the detainee.
Anadolu does not specify the scope of the investigation, but Dogan news agency says it is part of an investigation into connections to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
The father had disowned Kanter for his public support of Gulen, who the Turkish government blames for last summer’s failed coup attempt when nearly 270 people were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded while trying to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish government considers Gulen’s movement a terror organization. Gulen has denied all allegations of involvement in the coup attempt.
Enes Kanter tweeted on Friday about the incident . He called Erdogan the “Hitler of our century,” and warned that his father “is potentially to get tortured as thousand others.”
The Kanters have become bigger targets than usual lately as Enes Kanter has continued to be a vocal supporter of Gulen’s movement and critic of Erdogan.
According to Dogan, Mehmet Kanter had tried to go into retirement from his professorship at Medeniyet University’s Medical School but was dismissed with a government decree on Sept. 1. Under a state of emergency declared after the July 15 coup, more than 50,000 people have been arrested and 100,000 civil servants dismissed through executive decrees for alleged links to the cleric.
Just a few weeks ago, Enes Kanter was detained for several hours at a Romanian airport, he believes, because of his criticism of Erdogan. Border police in Romania confirmed that he was detained because Turkish authorities canceled his passport. He later was released and went through London before heading to the United States. He said in a news conference that officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and others intervened on his behalf.
Enes Kanter said he routinely receives death threats for criticizing Erdogan, and he may seek an expedited process toward becoming a U.S. citizen. He has played six NBA seasons and averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds this season for the Thunder.
Associated Press Writer Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul contributed to this report.
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