NBA player urges world to rally against Turkey’s Erdogan
© Getty Images

Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter is calling on the world to rally in opposition to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after his father was reportedly arrested by the Turkish government on Friday.

Kanter said Friday that his father, who lives in Turkey, was imprisoned and potentially vulnerable to torture because of the NBA player's vocal opposition to Erdogan, whom he has repeatedly called "the Hitler of our century."

"My father is arrested because of my outspoken criticism of the ruling party. He may get tortured for simply being my family member," Kanter said in a statement posted on his website. 


"There could be hundreds of thousands of people that are detained, tortured, or murdered that we are not hearing about," he added. "Freedom of expression is a basic human right, and I ask the WORLD to join me in seeking justice and equality for all and to reject oppressive regimes and dictatorships."

Kanter claimed last month that he had been briefly detained at the airport in Bucharest, Romania, after the Turkish embassy cancelled his passport in retribution for his criticism of Erdogan. 

The basketball player is a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric who lives in Pennsylvania. Erdogan has accused Gulen of orchestrating a failed coup attempt last summer aimed at overthrowing his government and has urged the U.S. to extradite him to Turkey.

Kanter's backing of Gulen has created a rift between him and his family, particularly his father, who disowned his son last year because of his political views.

""I apologize to the Turkish people and the president for having such a son," his father Mehmet Kanter wrote in a  Turkish pro-government newspaper at the time.