Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter shared some good news on Twitter on Friday morning, as he revealed that his father, Mehmet, has been released from prison in his native Turkey after seven years. Mehmet was arrested in 2013 and accused of being a terrorist due to links to Fethullah Gülen, who the authoritarian Turkish government blames for a failed coup in 2016. He began a 15-year prison sentence in 2018, but the charges against him were officially dropped in court on Thursday.
"Wow! I could cry," Kanter tweeted. "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!"
Kanter said that his father's release was due to the public pressure put on Turkey's government, and he vowed to continue to fight for others in a similar situation as his father was.
"This is due to the pressure we have put on the Turkish regime," Kanter wrote. "They no longer could keep him from his freedom because of the spotlight that we all put on this case! However! He is just one person, there are still tens of thousands of people wrongfully in jail in Turkey. I will not forget you, we will not forget you!
"This proves that the voice of the people will always push Dictators to do the right thing in the end. Don't be scared to stand for what is right, always and always, Stand for FREEDOM Stand for DEMOCRACY Stand for HUMAN RIGHTS."
In 2017, Kanter blamed himself for his father's arrest, as he had been an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"My father is arrested because of my outspoken criticism of the ruling party," Kanter said. "He may get tortured for simply being my family member... For a second please think and imagine, if something like this is happening to an NBA player, what is happening to the people with no voice or podium to speak on?"
Kanter has had ongoing issues with the Turkish government. Kanter has been charged with terrorism by Turkey's government, and he faces jail time if he's ever apprehended in Turkey, as there is a warrant out for his arrest. As such, Kanter is extremely cautious about where he travels internationally. Kanter's passport was also revoked by Turkey. But while Kanter's issues with the Turkish government are clearly ongoing, the freedom of his father is a major victory for the Celtics center.