UPDATE: Kanter has boarded a plane to London.
OKC Thunder star Enes Kanter has tweeted out that Romanian officials have detained him at the airport after Turkey canceled his passport. Kanter has spoken out against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and voiced support for Fetullah Gulen, the preacher Erdogan has blamed for failed coups. From ESPN:
Kanter, who arrived in Bucharest from Jakarta, Indonesia, as part of his 2017 Enes Kanter Light Foundation global tour, posted a video on Twitter in which police officers have “been holding us here for hours.”
“The reason behind it is just, of course, my political views,” Kanter, who turned 25 Saturday, said in the video. “And the guy who did it is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey.”
The Thunder said they are working with the league office and gathering information through the appropriate channels.
*UPDATE* The NBA told The New York Times that Kanter has taken off on a plane to London:
“Today at around 1 p.m. local time an individual arrived from Frankfurt,” Fabian Badila, a spokesman for the Romanian border police, said in an interview. “My colleagues established that his travel documents weren’t valid, that they had been canceled by his home country, so he wasn’t allowed to enter the country.
“At around 5 p.m., he left the airport on a flight to London,” Mr. Badila continued. “While he was at the airport he wasn’t detained or locked up, he was allowed to wander around, but he couldn’t enter the country.”
Last July, after Erdogan faced a failed “coup,” he immediately blamed it on Gulen, who resides in Pennsylvania. A month later, Kanter posted a letter of support for Gulen on social media and even signed his name as Enes Gulen.
This forced his parents in Turkey to disown him. His father Mehmet Kanter apologized in a letter: “I apologize to the Turkish people and the president for having such a son.” The Daily Sabah continued:
Following the release of the letter, Daily Sabah reached out to Mehmet Kanter, who told Daily Sabah that he has been quite disturbed by his son’s behavior and insulting tweets directed at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Stressing that he has been educating students for almost 30 years, Kanter said: “His statements and behavior trouble our family. I told Enes that we would disown him should he not change his course. He did not care.”
The elder Kanter said he has not been able to communicate with Enes since 2015. “I would not have taken Enes to the U.S. for the basketball camp where his talent was discovered had I known that it would come to this point,” he said.
Kanter acknowledged his family’s actions. From NewsOK:
“Today I lost my mother, father, brothers and sisters, my family and all my relatives,” Kanter wrote in the letter, interpreted by eurohoops.net. “My own father asked me to change my surname. My mother, who has given me life disowned me. My brothers and sisters with which we have grown together ignore me.”
A source close to Kanter confirmed the rift to The Oklahoman. Attempts to reach Kanter were unsuccessful.
I will keep an eye on this story and update with new developments.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.