Celtics’ Enes Kanter says father released from Turkish prison

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter tweeted Friday morning that his father had been released from prison in his native Turkey seven years after he was arrested by the country’s authoritarian government.

“Wow! I could cry,” Kanter wrote. “Today I found out that 7 years after arresting my dad, taking him through a Kangaroo court and accusing him of being a criminal just because he is my dad.”

“MY DAD HAS BEEN RELEASED! This is due to the pressure we have put on the Turkish regime.”

Kanter, who has been an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, went on to post two more tweets about it.

He declined to comment further, saying he is still gathering information about what happened.

Kanter has clashed with the Turkish government for years, to the point where his Turkish passport was canceled in 2017 and he fears leaving America over the prospect of being deported to Turkey. He played his first game outside the country in years on Christmas Day, when the Celtics won in Toronto against the defending champion Raptors.

Turkish prosecutors have previously sought an international arrest warrant for Kanter, citing his ties to exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the country’s government blames for a failed coup in 2016.

In October, Kanter tweeted that he and Celtics rookie Tacko Fall were harassed outside of a mosque in Boston, which he said at the time was being done by supporters of Erdogan.

“No, what I’m doing is huge because I’m talking about human rights,” Kanter said the next day, before the Celtics held their annual open practice for fans at TD Garden. “I’m talking about democracy, freedom, freedom of speech, religion and expression. I’m talking about justice.

“So just because I’m talking about these issues and that stuff, I’m going to get threats? [Then] I’ll take that. I’ll be OK having security next to me 24/7. But those issues that I’m talking about are way bigger than myself and basketball.”

Both Kanter and Celtics guard Marcus Smart recently attended a Black Lives Matter protest at Boston Commons.

Kanter, who is averaging 8.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this season, tweeted Monday that he will be eligible to officially become a U.S. citizen on June 15, 2021.

As the NBA continues to prepare to restart its season late next month at Walt Disney World, Kanter and the rest of the Celtics are scheduled to return to Boston by Monday to begin individual workouts.

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