Kanter says Turkish government arrested his father

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EUTERS/Lucas Jackson / Action Images

The Turkish government's grudge against Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter continues to escalate.

Kanter announced Friday on Twitter that his father, Mehmet, has been arrested by the government at the behest of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Enes has been targeted by Turkish authorities for his outspoken opposition to the ruling party, and his support for exiled Erdogan critic Fethullah Gulen. Enes is essentially a political refugee, seeking American citizenship now that the Turkish government has voided his passport and reportedly issued a warrant for his arrest. He has called Erdogan "a dictator," and "the Hitler of our century."

While Enes was recently given safe passage back to the U.S. (thanks to the help of the NBA and the State Department) after being detained, passport-less, at a Romanian airport, his family has been under immense political pressure back in Turkey as a result of his views. Mehmet, a medical professor and researcher, publicly disowned his son last August, but still lost his job at a university, and he's allegedly been spit on when he goes out in public.

"My dad has been arrested by (the) Turkish government and the Hitler of our century," Enes wrote Friday. "He is potentially to get tortured as thousands (of) others."

Erdogan's government has labeled Gulen and his followers a terrorist organization, accused them of orchestrating the failed coup in Turkey last July, and subsequently jailed thousands of suspected Gulen supporters as part of a countrywide purge. Erdogan also recently held, and won, a referendum to expand his executive powers in response to the coup.

The arrest warrant was reportedly issued for Enes on May 26 on the grounds of his alleged "membership of an armed terrorist organization."