Activism isnt limited to NFL players taking a knee or LeBron James wearing I Cant Breathe shirts. In fact, we probably have less social activism in the United States than most countries in the world because their civil liberties are often more infringed upon by government.
Within the everyday struggle of our American citizens, New York Knicks center Enes Kanter enjoys the benefits and illustrious perks of being a high-profile NBA star here in America, but continues his own fight with an oppressive Turkish regime back home.
Stand For What You Believe! Stand For Freedom! Stand For Human Rights! #DictatorErdogan https://t.co/zLJJ2X7Ldn
Kanter grew up in Turkey. He considers it his home, despite the fact that hes been living in the United States since 2010. Instead of Kanter being a hero and the Turkish government capitalizing on his global popularity and his presence in the largest media market in the world, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan recognizes him as an enemy of the state for tweets Kanter posted about Erdogan in May and June 2016.
Kanter is a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, an opponent of Erdogan who has been living in the United States since 1999. Gulen was accused by Turkey of orchestrating the failed coup attempt against Erdogan in 2016.
Depending on how long Erdogan rules, Kanter may not be able to return home for at least another decade, but he isnt sweating it.
“I didn’t know it was going to be that,” Kanter told Bleacher Report. “But then I thought about it: If I know that I cannot ever go back to Turkey, that I can never see my family again, I’d still do what I’m doing right now.”
Kanter isnt sweating it and will continue to enjoy the celebrity NBA life, praying for his family, ignoring the death threats and trying his hardest to help get rid of an oppressive dictator. Kanter had his passport deaded by the Turkish government for his political views and in May of 2017, Kanter was detained at a Romanian airport and told that his Turkish passport was canceled.
Enes Kanter, an Oklahoma City Thunder player from Turkey, says he was held in a Romanian airport over the weekend when his home country revoked his passport. He has long been an outspoken critic of Turkey’s President Erdogan. Kanter says Turkey canceled his passport in retaliation for his political views.
Its the type of sacrifices one makes when they choose to challenge an oppressive regime and support another candidate.
If he does return home, prosecutors in Turkey are seeking a four-year prison sentence due to his continued criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even calling him a maniac at one point.
In the latest episode of Timeout with Taylor Rooks, Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter comes by the SNY studios for an in-depth conversation about his opposition to the Turkish government, Colin Kaepernick’s fight to get back into the NFL, and the legendary pickup game involving him, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, JR Smith, and Carmelo Anthony.
The USA isnt Turkey, but Kanters situation has similarities to the many journalists and athletes that have spoken out against the President and be made to suffer for it with attacks against them by the government. Donald Trump demanding ESPN to fire Jemele Hill for calling him a white supremacist in a Tweet and influencing her temporary suspension and Trump referring to NFL players who want to bring light to social injustice and police brutality by taking a knee as sons of bitches is similar on a smaller scale.
Cuban baseball players have had to deal with never returning home and worrying about the safety of their families once they defected to the United States to play ball and get paid millions in the MLB.
Kanter has said he wants to seek U.S. citizenship. He might have abandoned the hopes of seeing family and friends back in Turkey anytime soon, but he will continue to use his celebrity platform to fight against a dictator President with a knack for circumventing term limits and support new leadership in his home country.