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17th of January 2018

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Turkey seeks jail term for NBA player Enes Kanter for insulting President Erdogan

New York Knicks centre Enes Kanter, going up against Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams, is accused of defaming Turkish ... MARK D SMITH/USA TODAY SPORTS

New York Knicks centre Enes Kanter, going up against Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams, is accused of defaming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter.

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 player 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.

The player is a vocal supporter of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric blamed by Turkey for last year's failed military coup.

READ MORE: Kanter hits back at Turkish arrest warrant report

Kanter was detained in Romania on May 20 because his Turkish passport was cancelled. He said he was able to return to the United States after American officials intervened.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999 and whose extradition Erdogan is seeking, denies involvement in the failed coup.

The indictment on Wednesday (Thursday NZ Time) statedKanter used Twitter to "defame and deride" Erdogan, Anadolu said.

The 6-foot-11-inch centre tweeted in response to the indictment, adding screenshots of the media reports.

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"I have said less than that honourless (man) deserves. Add another 4 years for me, master," he told his 526,000 Twitter followers.

Kanter lashed out at Erdogan at a news conference following his detention, calling him the "Hitler of our century."

He holds a US green card that allows him to live and work in the country on a permanent basis.

Last year, Turkish media published a handwritten letter signed by Kanter's father, Mehmet, disowning a son he accused of having been "hypnotised" by the Gulen movement.

In response, the 25-year-old Kanter - the third pick in the NBA draft when he joined Utah Jazz in 2011 - said he was dedicating himself to Gulen and the cleric's Hizmet (Service) movement.

- AP, Stuff

 - AP

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