ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's state-run news agency says prosecutors are seeking more than four years in prison for NBA player Enes Kanter on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Anadolu Agency says an indictment prepared by the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office accuses the New York Knicks center of insulting the president in a series of tweets he posted in May and June 2016.
Kanter, who is in the United States, would be tried in absentia.
Kanter said on Wednesday that he isn't bothered by the potential indictment.
"You guys were seeing today that I was just out there having fun, playing basketball and practicing with my teammates," Kanter said. "... You guys are going to say, 'How do you get used to, like, prison, this and that, whatever?' I think it's just nothing to me, man, because I'm in America. I'm good. My focus right now is just going out there, playing basketball, having fun with my teammates and just winning, and just thinking about playoffs. I don't really think about all this stuff, whatever. They can do whatever they want to do."
Kanter, who grew up in Turkey, is a vocal supporter of Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric blamed by Turkey for last year's failed military coup. Kanter was detained in Romania on May 20 because his Turkish passport was canceled. He said he was able to return to the United States after American officials intervened.
The Knicks center said he found out about the indictment on Wednesday morning.
"I was like, 'Oh, four years.' I was like, 'That's it? Only four years? All the trash I've been talking?' I said I promise you guys, it doesn't really bother me a little, even one bit," he said. "My thing is just going out there and just playing basketball."
Kanter was asked Wednesday if he hopes the situation in his country can change.
"The only thing you can do is just pray for all these innocent people in Turkey," he said. "People don't understand. They're saying your family is still back in Turkey -- why are you doing all of this? Why are you talking? I'm just trying to be the voice of all of these innocent people, man. 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."
He added that the Knicks' success on the court would be a good way to answer back to the government.
"If we make playoffs, then that will drive him crazy, so that's what I'm really focused on right now, just make the playoffs and drive this dude crazy," he said.
Of Erdogan, Kanter added: "That dude is maniac. Think about it. I mean, America ... you've got freedom of whatever you want to say. I mean, it's a free country. But it's not like that in Turkey. You cannot criticize or you cannot even say nothing bad about the dude, Erdogan. Just, like, say he's a bad guy and you're in a prison. It's politics. People can choose or say whatever they want to say. I think right now the situation there is pretty messed up."
ESPN's Ian Begley and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Turkey seeking 4-year prison sentence for Enes Kanter for insulting President Erdogan
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