NBA star Kanter changes surname to Gülen, says ‘I'd die for him'
Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter, who is known to be a staunch follower of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, has said that he was ready to die for him, as he commented on his family disowning him after the July 15 coup attempt due to his support of the Gülen movement, believed to be behind the failed takeover. Kanter also changed his surname to Gülen after his family disowned him.
“I lost my mother, father, my family and all of my relatives today. My own father asked me to change my surname. The mother who gave birth to me rejected me. My siblings, with whom I was raised with, ignore me. My relatives don't want to see me anymore,” Kanter said in a statement on his Twitter account on Aug. 8, as he added that not one but a thousand Enes' can be sacrificed for the movement “raised with the tears of faithful and devoted people.”
“My mother, father, siblings and all of my relatives can be sacrificed on Gülen's way. I can give my head on his way. May God take from my life and give every second of it to my brave preacher,” he also wrote.
Kanter made headlines after the failed takeover due to his strong support to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), drawing widespread criticism in Turkey. Access to his Twitter account was banned in Turkey after the coup bid.
Kanter's father, Mehmet Kanter, recently released a statement saying that his family did not approve of the NBA star's actions.
“We think that he was hypnotized and being used by the FETÖ. We are rejecting Enes and are asking him to change his surname,” Kanter said, as he added that the family would continue to serve the country.
“I apologize [to] the President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] and the Turkish people for having such a child,” he also said.
Saying that his love for Gülen was above the love he felt for his family, Enes Kanter noted that the followers of Gülen should be “patient.”
“Just hold on my brothers, hold on my sisters. Bear with it. Let's not lose the exam. Let's not be among the ones losing in the winning zone. From now on my family is the followers of Gülen waving the Turkish flag in more than 171 countries. My family is Gülen, who is in tears. The tyrants will be gone in a short while. Bear with it, God is with us. There is no turning back from this case. There's God and no worry,” he wrote.