Mohamed Abdel Ghaffar
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seeks to silence all voices of every opponent whether inside or outside of Turkey, like Turkish Islamic scholar and political figure Fethullah Gülen who currently resides in the United States. Turkey has been demanding the extradition of Gülen.
Erdoğan has put thousands of opponents in prisons after an alleged coup by Erdoğan critic Fethullah Gulen, whom the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a failed coup in 2016, however, he does not seem to show any signs of stopping, as he seeks more dictatorship by preventing his people of expressing their opinions freely.
Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter has criticized the Turkish government, putting him at odds with Erdoğan and makes traveling outside the United States a huge risk, as he would be arrested if he ever returns to the country.
He’s been forced to miss NBA games in other countries, dealt with constant death threats, and now has a direct line to the FBI if anything happens.
He says the agents listened and wrote down Kanter’s words and asked a few more questions. Not once did they ask if he was taking the threats seriously, and before they left, they installed a device next to his bed. “If you’re uncomfortable with anything, just push that button,” they told him. “If you hear something you don’t like or have a reason to believe there’s a threat, push the button and someone will be here within minutes.”
He has spoken for human rights and freedoms in his home country in direct contradiction of the current Turkish regime. Turkey sought an international arrest warrant for Kanter in January and alleged he is part of a terrorist organization. Oregon senator Ron Wyden wrote to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking to “facilitate Mr. Kanter’s safe passage to and from Canada.”
Kanter’s Turkish passport was seized in 2017, leading to his near arrest during a layover in Romania. Since then he won’t travel outside of the United States, skipping games in London and in Toronto.
Kanter told the agents about the Interpol red notice that lists him as a wanted man and prohibits him from traveling safely outside the United States. He talked about the man he considers a dictator, Turkey’s president Reccip Tayyip Erdoğan, and Erdoğan’s near-pathological desire to see Kanter either imprisoned or dead.