ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s state-run news agency says prosecutors are seeking more than four years in prison for NBA player Enes Kanter on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Anadolu Agency says an indictment prepared by the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office accuses the New York Knicks player of insulting the president in a series of tweets he posted in May and June 2016.
Kanter, who is in the United States, would be tried in absentia.
The player is a vocal supporter of Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric blamed by Turkey for last year’s failed military coup.
Kanter was detained in Romania on May 20 because his Turkish passport was canceled. He said he was able to return to the United States after American officials intervened.
Erdogan declared a new state of emergency early this year, following the failed coup. Police arrested more than 120 journalists, closed more than 150 news outlets and jailed 140,000 people.
Two days after he made it home, Kanter told “CBS This Morning” that he believed Erdogan was using the coup attempt as an excuse to crack down, and that, “he wants to be a one-man show… The victims are the innocent people. That’s why he was trying to blame them because they were speaking the truth.”
Kanter said he believed he is one of Erdogan’s targets because he has been an outspoken critic — so much so, Kanter has been disowned by his own family.
“Of course, it’s tough,” he said. “But I stand by what I believe. I want to be the voice for those innocent people. And I believe what I’m doing is right.”
“Do you think your life is in danger? That your family is in danger?” asked “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King.
“I’m getting death threats almost every day, still,” Kanter said. “I believe when I leave this set, when I leave this room, I’m going to keep getting death threats, but you know what? I stand by what I believe.”
While he said he hoped to one day return to Turkey, he didn’t see it happening any time soon.
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