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It’s been seven years since Enes Kanter last saw his dad in person.
Let that sink in.
Some of us can’t even fathom going seven days without giving our father a hug and telling them why we are so thankful of them.
On Saturday in a tear-jerker post on Twitter, the Trail Blazers big man shared an emotional post about missing his father, Dr. Mehmet Kanter, who he’s been unable to see since he was 19 due to Enes’ ongoing criticism of Turkish President Recep. Tayyip Erdogan.
It’s his birthday on Saturday.
Happy birthday Dad.
It’s been 7 years. 💔
That’s the only image that I have of you.
Thank you for inspiring me. I’m so thankful and grateful to have you in my life even from very far away.
I will continue to do what you taught me, to fight for what is right. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/XgxU4KUK98
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) January 30, 2021
“Thank you for inspiring me,” Enes said in a post of him hugging his father when he was taken in third-overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. “I am so thankful and grateful to have you in my life even from very far away.”
Kanter’s father, a genetics professor at Istanbul University, was sentenced to 15 years behind bars for supporting Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric who was involved in a failed coup in 2016. Gülen and members of his religious movement known as FETO have been designated as a terrorist organization in Turkey ever since.
During that time, Turkey sought an international arrest warrant known as "Red Notice" for Enes Kanter in 2019, alleging that he is part of the terrorist organization. His passport was seized during a layover in 2017 in Romania after the Turkish embassy canceled his passport.
Kanter continues to publicly decry Erdogan and the Turkish government for human rights violations. He has vowed not to stay silent and will continue to raise awareness about the thousands of people Erdogan has locked away.
Mehmet Kanter was freed from prison in 2020 after charges were dropped, but he’s unable to see his son or communicate with him. Enes can’t even pick up the phone and say “Happy Birthday.”
Hopefully, somehow, Enes’ touching message to his father is received.
“I will continue to do what you taught me, to fight for what is right.”