Prosecutors are seeking more than four years in prison for NBA player Enes Kanter on charges of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s state-run news agency said.
Anadolu said an indictment prepared by the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office accuses the New York Knicks player of insulting the president in a series of tweets he posted in May and June last year.
Kanter said he was not concerned and continued his criticisms of Erdogan, saying: “That dude is a maniac.”
“That stuff really don’t bother me because I’m used to it,” Kanter said on Wednesday.
“I think it’s just nothing to me, man. I’m in America. I’m good and my focus right now is just going out there, playing basketball, have fun with my teammates and just winning and just thinking about playoffs,” he said.
Kanter cannot return to Turkey because his passport has been canceled. He is to be tried in absentia.
The player is a vocal supporter of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric blamed by Turkey for last year’s failed military coup.
Kanter was detained in Romania on May 20. He said he was able to return to the US after US officials intervened.
He said his family remains in Turkey and he is concerned for them — he said his father at one point was jailed for a week — but he downplayed the situation otherwise.
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