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

History teacher gives birth to her third child in prison

Under arrest as part of an investigation into the Gulen movement since Nov 3, 2016, history teacher Özlem Meci gave birth to her third child in prison. Özlem delivered her third child, named Murat, on Feb 15, 2017 but her requests for trial without arrest have remained inconclusive so far.

A useful guide to understanding the Hizmet-AK Party tension

Mustafa Yeşil, head of the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), of which Fethullah Gülen is honorary president, talks about the reasons for the increasing tension between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and the Hizmet movement, which conducts praiseworthy activities in Turkey and around the globe with inspiration from well-respected Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen.

Minister Şahin praises Journalists and Writers Foundation for courageous coverage

SEZAİ KALAYCI, NEW YORK Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin has praised the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) for its members’ courageous coverage of important issues at a time when the country is taking steps for democratization. Şahin’s remarks came during a panel discussion on women’s issues held by the GYV and Peace Islands […]

Prime Ministry asks president to purge ‘parallel state’ in his office

The Office of the Prime Minister has submitted a list of people who are allegedly members of the Hizmet movement to President Abdullah Gül, the Taraf daily claimed on Thursday, as part of widespread government attacks on the movement.

Can Erdoğan finish off the Gülen movement?

In other words, this is not a power struggle but a one-sided attack by an increasingly authoritarian leader on a civil society movement critical of the way government rules the nation.
In this asymmetrical fight, the Hizmet movement has nothing to lose. It is composed of individuals who are dedicated to doing something that they believe is for the good of humanity.

Say What? Ankara Mayor Blames Gulenists for Shaking Turkey With an Earthquake

No joke: Ankara’s mayor suggests that an earthquake that has recently hit Turkey’s northwest might have been caused by the followers of cleric Fethulah Gulen.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Turkish coup was Erdogan ‘gift’

Erdoğan’s ‘non-precious’ loneliness

The latest step by AKP-Gov’t witch-hunt against Hizmet Movement

Ethiopian president hails contribution of Turkish schools to education

Turkish school sacrifices over 150 cows for Eidil Adha

Fethullah Gulen Talked to Kurdish TV on Kurds, human rights and Erdogan

Acclaimed Russian academic praises Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News