The father of NBA player Enes Kanter, a fierce critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been acquitted of terrorism charges, news site KRT reported on Friday.
Mehmet Kanter, a biology professor in Turkey, was alleged to have supported U.S.-based Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen, the head of a religious movement and former Erdoğan ally, who the Turkish government blames of masterminding a failed coup in 2016. Turkey designated Gülen’s network as a terrorist group, dubbed the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation” (FETÖ).
Turkey accuses the Gülen movement of placing its acolytes into influential positions in the armed forces, judiciary, police, civil service and the media. Thousands of the movement’s followers were arrested or fired from their jobs following the failed putsch.
Kanter, who was fired from his job and initially jailed for five days, was acquitted on Thursday by a court in Turkey’s northwestern province of Tekirdağ, KRT said.
An investigation against Kanter had revealed a photograph of Gülen on the professor’s mobile phone. Kanter claimed he had no relation with FETÖ and said his children may have accidentally downloaded the photo while browsing online, the news site said.
Enes Kanter, who has lived mainly in the United States for more than a decade, describes himself as a close ally of Gülen. The NBA player’s parents publicly disowned him in 2016, shortly after the coup attempt.
Turkey revoked Enes Kanter’s passport in 2017 and issued a warrant for his arrest on terrorism charges. He is awaiting U.S. citizenship.