Turkish basketball playerÂ Enes Kanter said today that his father has been exonerated of charges brought against him by the Turkish government.
Kanter, a 28-year-old center for the Boston Celtics, is an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The NBA playerÂ also supports Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan blames for the 2016 coup attempt.
Kanterâ€™s father, Mehmet Kanter, was briefly detained in 2017 on terrorism charges related to Gulen, which he denied. Mehmet Kanterâ€™s passport was also taken away. The older Kanter was acquitted of the charges Thursday.
Enes Kanter celebrated the news on Twitter, saying it was due to pressure on the Turkish government.Â â€œMy dad has been released,â€ said Enes Kanter. â€œThis is due to the pressure we have put on the Turkish regime.â€
Enes Kanter has had a complicated relationship with his home country. His passport was revoked in 2017 amid his criticisms of the government and support for Gulen. Last year, he skipped a tripÂ to London with his former team, the New York Knicks, fearing Turkish authorities could have him arrestedÂ there. Enes Kanter is now seeking US citizenship.
The ordeal has complicated Enes Kanterâ€™s relationship with his family as well. Mehmet Kanter publicly disowned his son in 2016 following the coup, though Enes Kanter has speculated this is due to the pressure the family is under from authorities.
The NBA player is outspoken about other regional and American issues as well. In January, he wrote an op-ed in the Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post calling on Jews and Muslims to fight bigotry together. He has also participated in ongoing Black Lives Matter protests inÂ Boston.
Enes Kanter used the news about his father to call for the release of others imprisoned in Turkey.
â€œHe is just one person, there are still tens of thousands of people wrongfully in jail in Turkey,â€ Enes Kanter said.