ISTANBUL — A Turkish court has accepted an indictment charging the father of NBA player Enes Kanter with “membership in a terror group,” the country’s official news agency reported Monday.
The indictment followed an investigation of Mehmet Kanter, and prosecutors planned to seek his conviction and a prison term of five to 10 years at trial, Anadolu Agency said.
It’s unclear when the trial in western Tekirdag province would begin.
Enes Kanter, who plays for the New York Knicks, is a follower of a U.S.-based Turkish cleric who the government accuses of masterminding a failed military coup in 2016. Cleric Fethullah Gulen has denied the allegation, but tens of thousands of people suspected of ties to his network have been arrested or fired.
The elder Kanter, a professor, was purged from public service after the coup attempt and detained for five days last summer.
Anadolu said the indictment alleges he contacted some 120 suspects with alleged links to Gulen, including dozens who were said to have communicated through an encrypted messaging application.
Enes Kanter, a former Oklahoma City Thunder center, has been a vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His Turkish passport was canceled last year.
Prosecutors charged him in December with insulting the president in a series of tweets. They want to try him in absentia and have him sentenced to more than four years in prison, if he is convicted.
I will continue to keep fighting for Human Rights and Freedom of Speech
Justice and Democracy above all.I will stand for what I believe in.All I’m doing is trying to be voice of innocent people
Keep my family,innocent people in your prayers 🙏#DictatorErdogan 🇹🇷@RT_Erdogan pic.twitter.com/i7kK3mwKND
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) June 18, 2018
“Keep my family, innocent people in your prayers,” the basketball player tweeted Monday with the hashtag “DictatorErdogan.” His Twitter account is withheld in Turkey.
Under a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the coup, Turkey has arrested more than 50,000 and sacked some 110,000 people alleged to have infiltrated state institutions for Gulen. The government said the crackdown was needed to fight alleged acts of terror.