For several years, the Turkish government has targeted Enes Kanter for his criticism of authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His own parents, who reside in Turkey, have been forced to publicly disown him for fear of reprisal, and the government has revoked his passport, rendering it nearly impossible for him to travel abroad without the threat of repercussions.
Even amid death threats, Kanter hasn’t backed down from his public stance against Erdogan and has even sparred publicly with former NBA journeyman Hedo Turkoglu, who is a chief advisor to Erdogan, for being complicit in the alleged misdeeds Kanter has decried, which include censorship, unlawful detainment, and other humanitarian crimes.
A new chapter was added to the saga this week, with Kanter claiming that the Turkish government is now responsible for the cancellation of a free basketball camp he was scheduled to host at the Islamic Center of Long Island.
Unbelievable. The Turkish government has managed to exert its force to cancel a basketball camp on Long Island. Why? Because it is hosted by Enes Kanter. Here is the statement from Kanter: pic.twitter.com/Zifa0TNzsU
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) July 25, 2019
This summer, Kanter has put on 33 free basketball camps in 25 states around the country designed for underprivileged kids to get the opportunity to practice their skills with a real-life NBA player.
During his tenure in Portland, Senator Ron Wyden sent an official letter to the state department requesting their aid in protecting Kanter, though it’s unclear what, if any, response they’ve received. Kanter joined the Boston Celtics in free agency this summer, marking his fifth stop over the course of his eight-year NBA career.