New York Knicks center Enes Kanter is facing a four-year prison sentence — in his home country of Turkey.
According to Turkey’s state-run news agency, prosecutors are charging Kanter with insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter.
What did Kanter say?
Kanter has been critical of Erdogan, saying the Turkish president has created a dictatorship and calling him the “Hitler of our century.”
Erdogan has closed more than 100 news outlets and jailed approximately 80 journalists in an attempt to silence opposition, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Kanter is also a supporter of preacher Fethulla Gulen, who Erdogan has blamed for a failed military coup in July 2016.
In May, Kanter was detained at a Romanian airport after his passport was canceled by Turkish authorities.
“The reason behind it is just, of course, my political views,” Kanter said in May. “And, the person who did it is Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”
Kanter unbothered by charges
Speaking to New York media Wednesday, Kanter did not seem worried about the charges against him in his home country.
“I was like ‘That’s it? Only four years?” Kanter said jokingly. “All the trash I’ve been talking?”
Kanter said he hasn’t been able to communicate with his family in Turkey out of fear that they would face repercussions, and their passports have been held. Still, he said he won’t stop speaking out against Erdogan.
“I’m just trying to be the voice of all these innocent people, man,” Kanter said. “Because all of these innocent people are just going through really tough times. Journalists, innocent people in jail getting tortured and killed and kidnapped. And it’s pretty messed up. And they hate it. They hate when I talk to you guys in front of all these cameras, these microphones.”