American whistleblower Edward Snowden has praised NBA player Enes Kanter, a staunch follower of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, and said that he is honored to work with him.
"I will always admire your courage to speak up for what is right in the face of adversity. It is a pleasure to know you, but a real honor to work with you. Stay free, my friend," Snowden tweeted on Jan. 13, quoting Kanter's earlier tweet.
I will always admire your courage to speak up for what is right in the face of adversity. It is a pleasure to know you, but a real honor to work with you. Stay free, my friend. @EnesKanter @FreedomofPress https://t.co/hFdl5bdsDM— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 13, 2021
"Had a great conversation with my friend Snowden about human rights, justice and freedom of the press. Thank you for your friendship and support," Kanter said.
Snowden's tweet was criticized by dozens of people from Turkey since Kanter is known for supporting the Gülenists, whose official name is the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) - the group widely believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt that led to the deaths of over 250 people.
Kanter was indicted in Turkey in 2018 on charges of belonging to an "armed terrorist group." He has been openly expressing his love for Gülen and even called him his "father."
Kanter has been living mainly in the United States for more than a decade and is awaiting U.S. citizenship. His parents publicly disowned him through a Turkish publication back in 2016, soon after the coup attempt.
Turkey revoked Kanter's passport in 2017 and he has since been unable to travel abroad.
A former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Gülen movement is behind numerous judicial plots in Turkey carried out to infiltrate state institutions.
Ties between the AKP and Gülenists were severed following a 2013 graft probe launched by prosecutors close to the movement.