Knicks’ Enes Kanter claims father’s 15-year sentence is retaliation of Turkish government

New York Knicks center Enes Kanter’s father was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Turkish government this week and the basketball star sees the sentence as retaliation.

In his statement posted on Twitter by Bleacher Report’s Yaron Weitzman, Kanter said he believed his father’s imprisonment was retaliation for speaking critically against Turkey’s leadership.

“No matter what happens, I will continue to keep fighting for human rights and freedom of speech, justice and democracy above all,” Kanter said, according to Bleacher Report. “I will stand for what I believe in. All I’m doing is trying to be the voice of all those innocent people.”

 

Kanter has spoken out against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his regime since being detained at a Romanian airport in May 2017 after the government canceled his travel documents.

“I want people to know what Turkey is doing,” Kanter said in an interview with the New York Times in December 2017. “I want to tell the whole media and everybody, ‘O.K., this is what’s going on in Turkey.’”

Kanter's father, Dr. Mehmet Kanter, was imprisoned in Turkey for five days in 2017 while being investigated for possible connection for a failed military coup in 2016, according to the New York Times.