Turkish international player Enes Kanter (211 cm, Kentuck’11) is entering his 11th season in the NBA as a Boston Celtic in 2019-20. He figures to slide in as the team’s starting center when the season tips off in October.
Kanter has been an outspoken critic of the government of his native Turkey since 2017, especially of current president Recep Erdogan. Kanter’s also been charged as a member of a criminal terrorist group and the Turkish government has issued an international warrant for his arrest. His passport has been revoked, which has also impacted on his options for travel.
For security reasons, Kanter, then a player of the Knicks, chose not to travel with his team to London during the season, fearing retaliation from the Turkish government while he would be in Europe.
The latest chapter in Kanter’s struggles vs. his native country’s government came in the form of a cancelation of a free basketball camp Kanter had intended to hold at the Islamic Center of Long Island (New York). Kanter took to Twitter to condemn the alleged involvement of the Turkish consulate in threatening the Mosque.
Kanter has sought to re-schedule his basketball camp and has chosen a different venue for the event. It will now be held at the Island Garden in West Hempstead on Sunday. Congresswoman Kathleen Rice assisted Kanter in relocating his camp, because “she supports his advocacy against president Erdogan’s authoritarianism.”
“I do these camps as part of charity and giving back to all communities, whether they are Jewish, Muslim, Christian or have no faith at all,” Kanter said. “Which is why I am so hurt that the Islamic Center of Long Island has decided to cancel the camp after the Turkish Consulate in NYC threatened the mosque, sent out their goons and encouraged people in Turkey to call the mosque and leave threatening messages.
Kanter has sought the aid of United States Senators Ed Markey and Ron Wyden, discussing his ability to travel outside of the United States for the upcoming NBA season.
Whatever comes of the support Enes Kanter has managed to draw from politicians in the U.S., he will still have to deal with numerous obstacles and threats outside its borders as he continues to wage a media war vs. the Erdogan regime.