Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
Kanter said his father’s release was “due to the pressure we have put on the Turkish regime” and added: “This proves that the voice of the people will always push Dictators to do the right thing in the end.”
While Kanter said Friday that his father, Mehmet Kanter, was arrested seven years ago, it was three years ago that he first discussed the actions taken against his father by the Turkish government:
In a statement he released at the time, Kanter said his own “outspoken criticism of the ruling party” led to his father’s imprisonment.
In 2017, the Daily Sabah (h/t A.J. Perez of USA Today) reported a warrant had been issued for Enes’ arrest in Turkey over alleged involvement in a terrorist organization opposing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kanter has been a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, who was accused of leading a failed coup in Turkey in 2016. Gulen has denied any involvement.
The BBC reported that in August 2016, Mehmet Kanter disowned Enes in the Daily Sabah—described as a “pro-government newspaper”—because of Enes’ support for Gulen.
Back in May 2017, Kanter posted a video on Twitter in which he said he was being held at an airport in Romania after his Turkish passport had been canceled:
Kanter was eventually released and made it back to the United States, where he said he wanted to become an American citizen.
Ever since he was held in Romania, Kanter has been cautious about where and when he travels. When he was a member of the New York Knicks last year, he did not make a trip to London to face the Washington Wizards because of concerns for his safety.
Kanter is averaging 8.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for a Celtics team that is third in the Eastern Conference at 43-21. Boston figures to be contenders in the East if the 2019-20 NBA season returns amid the coronavirus pandemic.