Mehmet Kanter—father of Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter—has been released from custody less than a week after being arrested by the Turkish government, according to reports from international news agency AFP.
The younger Kanter has lived in the U.S. since 2011 and has been a vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling him the “Hitler of our century” multiple times. He was detained in Romania three weeks ago after Turkey cancelled his passport, and the government has since issued a warrant for his arrest on allegations for “being a member of a terrorist organization.” The government cites his affiliation with the Gülen movement, an Islamic social collective, as the basis for its claim.
Shortly after the government issued the arrest warrant for Kanter—who safely made it back to the United States following his detainment in Romania—they arrested his father. Mehmet Kanter does not share his son’s political beliefs and seems to support the Erdogan regime, publicly disowning Enes because of his politics and specifically calling out his support of Gülen with a letter written in a Turkish newspaper last summer.
Now, five days after his initial arrest, the elder Kanter has been released by a court. He is currently under “‘judicial control,’ the equivalent of being freed under supervision,” per AFP.
In an interview with ESPN’s Outside the Lines yesterday, Enes Kanter said that he thought his father could be jailed for years for his son’s personal politics, saying “This is what they do.” He noted that he thought the government might be trying to use the legal action against his father to lure him back to Turkey in order to follow through on their warrant and arrest him.