Dec 20 2017

NBA player faces four years in jail for insulting Turkish president

Turkish prosecutors have filed criminal charges against a Turkish basketball player for the New York Knicks, who could face up to four years in jail for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, centrist newspaper Hürriyet said.

Enes Kanter has been a vocal supporter of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based cleric Turkey accuses of orchestrating the failed July 2016 coup, on Twitter.

The criminal charges prepared by Istanbul Press Crimes Investigation Bureau included insulting and offensive messages by Kanter about Erdoğan on his social media account as evidence.

After the news broke, Kanter responded by taunting Erdoğan.

“I wish I had said more about that scoundrel, give me four more years,” he wrote.

While Kanter could face four years in jail for the crime of insulting the president, prosecutors also requested the punishment be increased by one-sixth, as the crime had been committed in public.

Kanter already faces terror charges over being a member of the Gülen movement and was stopped on entry to Romania in May due to his Turkish passport being cancelled and an Interpol red notice issued for him by Turkish authorities.