Prosecutors demand four years in jail for Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter
Prosecutors in Turkey are seeking up to four years behind bars for New York Knicks center Enes Kanter for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on multiple occasions.
The indictment from the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office quotes Kanter’s “humiliating” and “insulting” statements about the president made on social media, the Sabah newspaper reported on Dec. 20.
The first hearing will be held at an Istanbul court but Kanter, known for his close ties to Fethullah Gülen, the main suspect in cases into Turkey’s July 2016 military coup attempt, is not expected to appear before the judge. He is therefore referred to as “fugitive” by the court.
An arrest warrant was issued for Kanter back in May, while he was playing for Oklahoma City Thunder, as part of a separate investigation launched into him on charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization,” the Fethullah Gülenist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Kanter was briefly detained at an airport in Romania on May 20 after Turkey canceled his passport. He said in a video on May 20 on his Twitter account that he believed he was being held because of his political views.
The court ruling included documents and information that said Kanter was a user of the ByLock smartphone application, once used exclusively by members of the Gülen network.
The latest indictment claims that Kanter’s words constitute a crime according to case law set by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and Turkey’s Court of Cassation.