After the failed coup attempt in Turkey in order to restore the country’s unique secular identity, Turkey has begone its dissension into the deep end as President Erdogan augments his own power and regional influence. Erdogan is truly living up to the “Hitler of our century” comment made by New York Knicks player, Enes Kanter.
That comment, under Erdogan, warrants a 4+ year sentence. Kanter has long been a critic of the regime and considers himself country-less while seeking US citizenship. Enes Kanter responded to the charges with this tweet.
Stand For What You Believe!
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) December 20, 2017
Prosecutors in Turkey are seeking a four-year prison sentence for New York Knicks big man Enes Kanter due to his criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), Kanter would be tried in absentia regarding tweets he posted about Erdogan in May and June 2016.
Kanter later told Ian Begley of ESPN he isn’t worried about the sentence, adding: “That’s it? For all of the trash I’ve been talking?”
In May, Kanter was detained at a Romanian airport and told that his Turkish passport was canceled.
Kanter, who is a supporter of Erdogan opponent Fethullah Gulen, said the detainment and passport cancellation had to do with his political views.
The threat of prison hasn’t scared off Enes Kanter. News out of Turkey’s state-run news agency that prosecutors are seeking over four years in jail for the Knicks center because of insults against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won’t make Kanter think twice about speaking his mind.
“I’m just trying to be the voice of all of these innocent people, man,” he said on Wednesday following practice. “Because all of these innocent people are just going through really tough times. Journalists, innocent people in jail getting tortured and killed and kidnapped. And it’s pretty messed up. And they hate it. They hate when I talk to you guys in front of all of these cameras, these microphones.”
Kanter said he can’t communicate with his family because of the severe repercussions they would face. There is a hold on their passports. His father, Mehmet, was put in jail for seven days last June as retribution for his son’s actions, Kanter believes. He also said the Turkish government raided their house, and took their electronic devices to prevent them from contacting each other. His brother Kerem is in America, and plays college basketball for Xavier University.
I had choice words for Enes Kanter but dude is wanted for prision by the president of his home country. Sheesh
— Soju Boy (@H00D_Certified) December 20, 2017
The US is highly unlikely to extradite someone for exercising their First Amendment freedoms just like the US refused to extradite Amanda Knox to Italy because of their double jeopardy, championship series trials. Extradition varies on what countries value when it comes to crimes, processes, and punishments, which is why rapist Roman Polanski still walks in Europe. Other countries have really bad justice systems and while American athletes make up stories about being persecuted (Michael Bennett), Kanter is actually being deeply impacted by it. With Turkey becoming more and more totalitarian and Islamic, the United State should greatly reconsider it’s alliance, especially as Turkey and the US trade barbs over Israel.