Knicks center Enes Kanter is not traveling with the team to London this week due to fears he would be assassinated by operatives from the Turkish government.
Whether Kanter’s fears are warranted or not is unknown, but Turkey is going after him via official channels as prosecutors are seeking an international arrest warrant for the NBA player.
Accusing Kanter of membership in a terror organization, the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office had also prepared an extradition request to bring Kanter to Turkey to stand trial.
Prosecutors allege Kanter belongs to the movement of cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed for a failed coup in 2016 that failed to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kanter, who has been critical of Erdogan and had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017, denies Gulen or himself has any ties to terror.
“Erdogan’s arms are long,” Kanter wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post. “He hunts down anyone who opposes him. In 2017, his security team — or thugs, as The Post’s editorial board described them — even beat up peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington. Anyone who speaks out against him is a target. I am definitely a target. And Erdogan wants me back in Turkey where he can silence me.”
He also took to Twitter after news of the extradition request began to circulate.
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
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) January 16, 2019