Turkish prosecutors are looking for a world arrest warrant for Knicks middle Enes Kanter, accusing him of membership in a terrorist group.
The Sabah newspaper stated the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s workplace had additionally ready an extradition request for Kanter, a Turkish citizen who has been a vocal critic of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the nation’s president. Officials at the prosecutor’s workplace couldn’t be reached by The Associated Press for remark.
Kanter, who didn’t journey with the Knicks this week for his or her sport in London after saying he feared he is perhaps killed there over his opposition to Erdogan, responded on Twitter that the Turkish authorities couldn’t current “any single piece of evidence of my wrongdoing.”
“I don’t even have a parking ticket in the U.S.,” he wrote Wednesday. In a subsequent tweet, he posted a picture of himself dunking and wrote, “The only thing I terrorize is the rim.”
Kanter’s Turkish passport was revoked in 2017. Now, Sabah stated, prosecutors are looking for an Interpol “red notice” citing Kanter’s ties to Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Muslim cleric who’s blamed by the Turkish authorities for a failed coup in the country in 2016. The prosecutors also accused Kanter of providing financial support to the so-called Gulen movement, Sabah said.
When Kanter announced on Jan. 4 that he would not travel with the Knicks, who play the Washington Wizards at The O2 arena on Thursday, he said he feared assassination if he left the United States or Canada.
“The N.B.A. provides a big platform to shed light on the human rights violations in Turkey and gives a voice to the thousands of people persecuted,” Kanter said in an interview with The New York Times last week. “This platform allows me to speak my mind.”
The team said at the time Kanter would not make the trip because of a visa issue.
Kanter denied that was the problem, posting a photo of a travel document on social media and making it clear his concern was danger from agents of Erdogan, whom he has referred to as “the Hitler of our century.”
“They’ve got a lot of spies there,” Kanter said. “I think I can get killed there easy. It would be a very ugly situation.”
Turkish officials, including the former N.B.A. player Hidayet Turkoglu, who is now a chief adviser to Erdogan, have dismissed his fears.
“He is trying to get the limelight with irrational justifications and political remarks,” Turkoglu, who went by Hedo in the N.B.A., said on Twitter.
But Kanter told The Times last week that death threats had been “coming a lot more and more every day.”
“I was scared,” he added. “I’m not going to lie.”
Since the Knicks went overseas, Kanter has posted a number of photographs of himself meeting with members of Congress. He also wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post explaining his decision and his reasons for standing against Erdogan.
“My decision not to travel to London was difficult from a competitive standpoint but much easier from a safety one,” he wrote. “It helps puts a spotlight on how a dictator is wrecking Turkey — people have been killed, thousands are unjustly imprisoned, and countless lives have been ruined. That is no game.”
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