Turkish basketballer's father denies Gulen links in court: report

Istanbul (AFP) –


The father of Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter on Tuesday denied accusations he had links to the group blamed for a 2016 failed coup aimed at overthrowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, local media reported.

Mehmet Kanter told a court in Tekirdag, northwestern Turkey, that he had no ties with the movement of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, the private DHA news agency said.

If convicted, Kanter faces up to 10 years in jail.

His son Enes, who plays with the Portland Trail Blazers, is facing similar accusations.

Turkey blames the July 2016 attempted overthrow of Erdogan on former ally-turned-foe Gulen, but the preacher vehemently denies the claims.

Erdogan's government officially refers to the Gulen movement as the "Fethullah Terrorist Organisation" and thousands of individuals are on trial over alleged membership of the group.

"I reject the accusations. I am not a member of Mr Gulen's movement," Mehmet Kanter said, as quoted by DHA.

A university professor, Mehmet Kanter was briefly detained in 2017. His passport was confiscated after his release, thus preventing him from travelling overseas.

The court on Tuesday maintained the ban on overseas travel, scheduling the next hearing for October 10.

The player Kanter was detained last year at a Romanian airport after being told his Turkish passport was cancelled -- a move that Kanter blamed on his political views.

An outspoken critic of Erdogan, Kanter, who has expressed support for Gulen, was allowed to leave a few hours later.