An NBA Center Faces Imprisonment And Possible Execution In Turkey


Date posted: June 14, 2017

John A. Tures

Normally, the Oklahoma City Thunder would be trying to find a replacement for Kevin Durant, or figure out how to get past the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs or Houston Rockets. They probably didn’t expect they’d have to struggle to keep their center Enes Kanter from being jailed and possibly executed in Turkey by an increasingly authoritarian leader.

Enes Kanter is the best-known figure in a group that’s getting purged by Turkey, whose leader is taking the country away from democracy. His only crimes were twofold. First, he likened Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a Nazi. Such a charge is ludicrous, especially since Erdogan himself praised Hitler’s style of government.

Hundreds of thousands of Turks have been fired or detained, and tens of thousands have been jailed. Most…aren’t even military members…

Second, Kanter has been labeled a member of a spiritual group led by Fethullah Gulen, a group accused by Turkish President Erdogan of backing a July coup in 2016. Such charges are ludicrous that an aged, ill cleric who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999 could be a coup mastermind, as opposed to a few misguided lower-level military officers. The Gulen movement even denounced the coup at the time it had its best chance of succeeding.


Kanter is hardly the only target. Hundreds of thousands of Turks have been fired or detained, and tens of thousands have been jailed. Most of those arrested aren’t even military members: they are journalists, prosecutors, judges, police officers, and professors, with women and children in prison under harsh conditions. Hundreds of universities and media outlets were shut down. No one can show judges and professors leading the coup. If the coup really had hundreds of thousands of participants, instead of a tiny handful, it might have succeeded!

Kanter nearly found himself in one of these overcrowded prisons. As he traveled to Romania, Turkey canceled his passport and tried to have him extradited. But he was able to make it back to the United States safely, for now, though he still has to watch out for President Erdogan’s attempt to extradite him and other Turks linked to Gulen back for “punishment” in Turkey.

Erdogan couldn’t grab Kanter, for now. But he did imprison Kanter’s father, even though his dad had spoken out against Gulen and publicly disowned his son. But even in today’s Turkey, that’s not enough to make you safe. Just being associated with someone who is associated with Gulen is enough to get you locked up, as this American pastor found out(locked up for eight months without a trial in Turkey).

Some people weren’t sure about whether to trust Erdogan, or the many groups he’s tried to purge, like the Kurds, military, nationalists, Alevis, secularists, leftists, and Gulenists. The arrest of the Turkish leader of Amnesty International has left little doubts as to how Erdogan feels about human rights. And that brutal beat-down that Erdogan approved of his security forces provided peaceful protesters in Washington, DC provided a sneak peek for the world how the Turkish president deals with those he dislikes at home. In a rare display of bipartisan unity, the House of Representatives voted 397-0 to condemn the action by Erdogan’s security forces.

Right now, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it. There is something you can do. Contact your member of Congress (and senators) and let them know you support keeping those who have fled Erdogan’s persecution, like Enes Kanter, safe here in America, instead of sending them back for prison and a possible death penalty (the Turkish president supports bringing back capital punishment) as so many countries have done. It’s what we did to help those fleeing repression by Communist regimes in the Soviet Union, East Europe, Cuba and Vietnam during the Cold War.

Otherwise, we could see Kanter and fellow Turks deported and likely executed for disagreeing with his country’s president. And Americans can’t let that happen.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at [email protected]. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.

Source: Huffington Post , June 13, 2017


Related News

Turkey’s MGK says discussed organizations threatening national security

Although Erdoğan insists that there would be a legal move against the Hizmet, opponents and critical voices point to lack of evidence necessary for a criminal investigation against the Movement.

Systematic Efforts by the Erdoğan Regime to Portray Hizmet as a Violent Organisation

Since its inception fifty years ago, Hizmet people has been consistently peaceful even at times of political persecution such as  the1980 coup and 28 February (1997) military memorandum. Despite all efforts of persecution, imprisonment, abductions, ill-treatment, and tortures, the movement has maintained its peaceful resistance and has not resorted to any violent response.

Turkey’s media watchdog asks Albanian counterpart to restrict Gülen documentary

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) head İlhan Yerlikaya has sent a letter to his Albanian counterpart to restrict a documentary titled “Love is a Verb,” saying that the film was broadcasted to make propaganda on behalf of the Gülen movement.

“It’s a religious duty to establish love and tolerance in society”

The 4th Annual Abrahamic Dinner co-organized by Niagara Foundation and Rochester College in Detroit, Michigan, received a large attendance. At the event, the three Abrahamic religions’ representatives, namely, Sheri Schiff of the Holocaust Museum, Dr. Rubel Shelly, professor of religion and philosophy at Rochester College; professor of history at Wayne State University, Dr. Saeed Khan offered their remarks.

Ministry allegedly profiled students of dershanes close to Hizmet

The petitions filed with the Ministry of Education and provincial educational branches in May 2012 by parents have revealed that the Education Ministry profiled students of dershanes — private institutes that offer examination prep classes — and schools close to the Hizmet movement.

The businessman who sits on his cell phone to avoid wiretapping

A businessman summarized it like this: “In the past, it was very important in the business community to have a meeting with Fethullah Gülen. Those going to the United States would try to get an appointment; yet today, different meanings are being attributed to these meetings. Those who in the past made sure to have these meetings publicly are now praying they do not come to the surface.”

Latest News

Lahore High Court orders protection for Turkish teachers in Lahore

Peace Islands Institute donates platefuls of generosity

Online Interfaith Dialogue Workshop

Pakistan admits they secretly deported Turkish family wanted by Erdogan govt

Pakistani Govt deports abducted Turkish teacher and family despite UN protections

Turkish family, kidnapped in Pakistan, deported to Turkey Saturday morning

Another woman faces detention just after giving birth: opposition deputy

Turkey Has Stolen The Future Of A Medical Student From Uganda

Pak-Turk Parents Association calls for immediate recovery of ex-principal, his family

In Case You Missed It

Pro-AKP media flop as corruption charges swell

Turks See Purge as Witch Hunt of ‘Medieval’ Darkness

What Bishop Welby’s appointment reminds: Are we responding to God’s calling?

Turkey Blessed with the Prayers of Tanzanian Orphans

Wife of arrested teacher: I was offered to lie about others in exchange for my husband’s release

Baseless allegations damage publicly traded firms

“Here today, the Honorable Gulen’s vision is coming true”, says Malian Minister

Yamanlar College student wins gold medal in int’l computer project competition

Ethio-Turkish businesswomen to strengthen business ties

Copyright 2017 Hizmet News