Recently, the Turkish government revoked the passport of Oklahoma City big man Enes Kanter, who was in Romania at the time and was detained at the airport, but was eventually allowed to leave through London back to the United States. The Turkish government then issued an arrest warrant for Kanter, but he will not be extradited because his attorneys can rightfully argue this is politically motivated — Kanter is an opponent of Turkey’s current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan – and he likely would be tortured upon his return.
Now, the Turkish government has arrested Kanter’s father.
Kanter announced it and the Turkish government confirmed this to Turkey’s official news agency, Anadolu, saying he was picked up “as a part of the ongoing investigation into FETO.” FETO is what the Turkish government calls followers of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Erdogan blames Gulen for masterminding a failed 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, one with members of the military involved.
Enes Kanter is a follower and supporter of Gulan, however, his family has disavowed Enes because of his political beliefs.
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….
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.
Erdogan recently won a disputed election in that country that gives him sweeping, almost dictatorial powers. His authoritarian government does not tolerate dissent nor have much regard for human rights (they have beaten protestors of the Turkish regime at a march in this country). Journalists, judges and anyone seen as opposition have been picked up in government sweeps.
Kanter closed his statement this way.
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 ask the WORLD to join me in seeking justice and equality for all and to reject oppressive regimes and dictatorships.