Oklahoma City Thunder’s Enes Kanter releases statement following father’s arrest in Turkey
OKLAHOMA CITY – It seemed like a nightmare for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Enes Kanter.
While overseas for a series of basketball clinics for his foundation, Kanter learned that the Turkish government was trying to find him.
Immediately, Kanter says he knew that he needed to get back to the United States as fast as possible.
After arriving in Romania, Kanter learned that Turkey had cancelled his passport, meaning he would not be able to enter the country.
Kanter has been an outspoken opponent of current Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
“He’s a bad, bad, man. He’s a dictator and he’s the Hitler of our century,” said Enes Kanter from an airport while he was detained in Romania.
After reaching out to Oklahoma leaders and the NBA, Kanter was allowed to board a flight to New York.
Once back on U.S. soil, Kanter learned that a foreign arrest warrant had been issued in his name, claiming that he was associated with terrorists.
The Daily Sabah reported that the warrant was issued due to Kanter’s support of cleric Fethullah Gulen, an Erdogan opponent who now lives in Pennsylvania.
Now, it seems that Kanter’s hardships are far from over.
On Friday, Kanter posted a note to Twitter, saying that his father has been arrested in Turkey.
“HEY WORLD. MY DAD HAS BEEN ARRESTED by Turkish government and the Hitler of our century He is potentially to get tortured as thousand others,” Kanter wrote.
In 2016, Kanter’s family disowned him for his support of Gulen.
“With a feeling of shame I apologize to our president and the Turkish people for having such a son,” a letter to the Turkish media from Kanter’s father, Mehmet, read.
At the time, Kanter said that his father wanted him to change his last name to distance himself from the family.
On Friday, Kanter released the following statement regarding his father’s arrest.
“I woke this morning to the news of my father being arrested by the Turkish government. 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. Hizmet today is a transnational social initiative that advocates for the ideals of human rights, equal opportunity, democracy, non-violence and the emphatic acceptance of religious and cultural diversity.
The AKP (Current regime) has suppressed Free media, blocked opposition parties in countless ways, changed the constitution granting unprecedented powers, and altered democracy so that they may consolidate power.
My father is arrested because of my outspoken criticism of the ruling party. He may get tortured for simply being my family member. There are countless stories that Amnesty International has published about rape, torture, and sodomy in the Turkish prisons following the alleged failed Military Coup attempt on July 15, 2016, that is blamed on innocent individuals of Hizmet. You may clearly see that benefactor of this failed coup was the Turkish Government.
According to Amnesty International & TurkeyPurge.com the AKP Government has detained 104,000 peaceful individuals, which consist of 17,000 women, many of whom are pregnant, or imprisoned with their children. They have shut down nearly 150 media outlets, arrested 234 journalists, which is more than any other country since July 15, 2016. In fact, they have dismissed 4,424 judges & prosecutors further eliminating checks and balances. These acts have assisted in Erdogan’s attempt to consolidate power even further.
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. Freedom of expression is a basic human right, and I would ask the WORLD to join me in seeking justice and equality for all and to reject oppressive regimes and dictatorships.”