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NBA star Kanter faces investigation in Turkey on terror charges

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22: Turkish NBA Player Enes Kanter speaks to the media during a news conference about his detention at a Romanian airport on May 22, 2017 in New York City. Kanter returned to the U.S. after being detained for several hours at a Romanian airport following statements he made criticizing Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP

An investigation is being carried out into NBA Oklahoma City Thunder player Enes Kanter by an İstanbul prosecutor on charges of membership in an armed terrorist organization, Turkish media reports said on Friday.

İstanbul Public Prosecutor Can Tuncay, who is overseeing the investigation into Kanter, has reportedly issued an arrest warrant for him.

Kanter is accused of using a smart phone application known as ByLock and praising the faith-based Gülen movement from his social media accounts.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is the top communication tool among the followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

The prosecutor’s office has also reportedly applied to Turkey’s Justice Ministry to ask Interpol to issue a red notice for Kanter.

Last weekend Kanter’s  passport was seized by Romanian police at Henri Coanda Airport upon a request from the Turkish government. Kanter said in a 45-second video that he had been held at the airport for hours on the grounds that his passport had been canceled by the Turkish government due to his “political views.” Kanter was later able to retrieve his passport and fly to the US.

Twenty-five-year-old Kanter is one of the most famous Turkish basketball players in the NBA. His family disowned him after he pledged support to Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the Gülen movement.

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