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Turkish prosecutor demands up to 4 years in prison for NBA star Kanter

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The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has demanded from one year, two months to four years, eight months in prison for the NBA’s Turkish star, Enes Kanter, for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Cumhuriyet reported on Wednesday.

According to the indictment Kanter, who plays for the New York Knicks, allegedly insulted Erdoğan in tweets on May. 7, 9 and 11 and June 2, 2016.

“I have said less than that dishonorable [man] deserves. Add another 4 years for me, master,” Kanter tweeted on Wednesday according to Reuters, adding screenshots of media reports.

Kanter, who is in the US, would be tried in absentia.

A strong critic of Erdoğan, Kanter has been targeted by the Turkish government in recent years.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Oct. 11 said NBA player Kanter’s world tour was blocked as part of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) efforts against activities of the Gülen movement.

“We prevented Enes Kanter from completing his world tour, which he started for propaganda purposes. He was expelled from three countries,” Çavuşoğlu said.

In May Kanter’s passport was briefly seized by Romanian police upon a request from the Turkish government.

“The guy who did this, you know, is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. [He is] the president of Turkey. You guys know him by his attack on people in Washington, D.C. He is a bad man. He is a dictator. He is the Hitler of our century. I will keep you posted. Just pray for us,” Kanter said at Bucharest Airport.

Once he landed in the US, Kanter revealed that the Turkish government had also tried to catch him in Indonesia.

“I was sleeping around 2:30 a.m. and my manager knocked on my door. He said the secret service and the Indonesian army were looking for me because the Turkish government told them I was a dangerous man,” Kanter said.

Professor Mehmet Kanter, father of Enes Kanter, was temporarily detained in June.

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