Enes Kanter has been through a lot, and we’re not speaking about his basketball career.
Since last year, Kanter has been in the news for being detained in Romania and his stance on the government in Turkey. He has been unabashed in his criticism of the Turkish government and its President, Tayyip Erdogan, and he’s never backed down since all of this publicly unfolded in 2017.
For most of 2018, the situation seemed to fade away, but it was always simmering, ready to explode. After Kanter informed fans that he wouldn’t travel with the Knicks to London for fear of his life, the tensions finally reached a fever pitch. Today, the Turkey government has accused him of being a member of a terror organization.
According to the Sabah newspaper, Istanbul’s chief prosecutor’s office are referencing Kanter’s ties to Fetullah Gulen, who was blamed for a failed coup in the country three years ago. They are stating that Kanter provided financial support to Gulen’s group and are now seeing an Interpol “Red Notice” and extradition request for the Knicks’ center.
Kanter, as is the norm, took to Twitter to express his feelings on the news.
Turkish Government can NOT present any single piece of evidence of my wrongdoing. 🤷♂️ I don’t even have a parking ticket in the US 😂 (True) I have always been a law-abiding resident. 😇 https://t.co/DxLgvFcTST
Kanter is not afraid to speak out against Erdogan, proving he won’t conform to the “just shut up and dribble” mantra adopted by the ignorant. His belief in the right to free speech and basic human rights is too strong for him to remain silent.
“Keep calm and play ball.” That’s what some people tell me when I use my National Basketball Association platform to speak out against Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, the place I grew up and where my family still lives.” wrote Kanter in a first person story for the Washington Post. ” The advice I prefer comes from Colin Kaepernick’s Nike ad campaign: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
“Anyone who speaks out against him is a target,” continued Kanter. “I am definitely a target. And Erdogan wants me back in Turkey where he can silence me.”
Kanter is taking precautions, such as not traveling to London with the team, but he isn’t let that deter him from his continued fight against oppression and those who seek to silence and persecute.