Enes Kanter says his battle with the Turkish government has taken a terrifying turn.
The Oklahoma City Thunder big man announced Friday on Twitter his father had been arrested by authorities under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom Kanter called the “Hitler of our century.”
Kanter warned his father, Mehmet, faced torture while imprisoned, as untold others have under Erdogan’s oppressive rule, according to Kanter.
“I woke this morning to the news of my father being arrested by the Turkish government,” Kanter said in a statement he posted to Twitter later in the afternoon.
“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.”
MY DAD HAS BEEN ARRESTED
by Turkish government and the Hitler of our century
He is potentially to get tortured as thousand others
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) June 2, 2017
Kanter has said there is a warrant out for his arrest in his native country stemming from his outspoken criticism of Erdogan. The 7-footer was detained at an airport in Romania two weeks ago and feared a potentially life-threatening extradition to Turkey before he was freed and able to arrive safely in the United States.
“It was scary because there was a chance they might send me back to Turkey, and if they sent me back to Turkey, probably you guys wouldn’t hear a word from me the second day,” Kanter said at NBA Players Association headquarters after arriving in New York. “It would’ve definitely gotten really ugly. Right now, I’m country-less.
I’m open to adoption, definitely. … Right now my next move is becoming an American citizen.”
Kanter, 25, said he has not spoken to his father in close to two years, and though his family publicly disowned him, has spoken of fearing for his family’s safety as a proxy way of hurting him.
Mehmet told a pro-government Turkish newspaper last year he and his family did not share his son’s political views, which include Enes’ support of Gulen, an exiled political opponent accused of staging a military coup against Erdogan last summer.
“I apologize to the Turkish people and the president for having such a son,” Mehmet Kanter wrote at the time.
Kanter, a veteran of six NBA seasons, issued a threat to the government on Saturday after learning they were seeking to arrest him on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization.
“You can’t catch me. Don’t waste your breath. I will come on my own will anyway, to spit on your ugly, hateful faces,” Kanter wrote on Twitter.