Professional basketball league (NBA) star Enes Kanter wrote an article for Time magazine saying that he was with Fethullah Gülen at his home in Pennsylvania on the night of a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, adding that he was “as shocked and fearful for Turkey” as the rest of the guests.
Turkish authorities accuses Gülen and his network, known as the Gülen movement, of orchestrating the coup attempt, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.
After the abortive putsch, the Turkish government started a crackdown on the followers of the Gülen, an Islamic cleric who has resided in the US since 1999, including NBA player Kanter’s father, who faces 10 years in prison on charges of membership in a “terrorist group.”
“This month, my dad will face trial in Turkey for ‘membership of a terror group.’ He is a university professor, not a terrorist,” Kanter wrote.
Kanter stated that he is unable to travel to Turkey to visit his hometown because he has spoken out against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who punished him and his family and relatives in response.
Regarding the accusations of that the Gülen movement orchestrated the coup, he added: “It is a crazy claim. I was with Gülen in his house in Pennsylvania that night, and he was as shocked and fearful for Turkey as the rest of us. We spent the night praying for our country.”
Kanter will be among the speakers at the Oslo Freedom Forum in New York on Sept. 17, 2018.
“In September, I’ll be attending the Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, presented by the Human Rights Foundation, to give voice to the silenced people of Turkey and to shed light on Erdogan’s crimes. Let’s all make sure to hold the world’s dictators accountable,” Kanter said.