The National Basketball Association (NBA) terminated its contract with a Turkish PR company that controls its local Twitter account after the latter failed to mention Enes Kanter’s name among high-performers following a play-off game.
““Fans in Turkey can watch all playoff games featuring Enes Kanter and the Portland Trail Blazers on NBA League Pass and NBA TV International,” NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum said May 2. “The NBA Turkey Twitter account was managed by a local vendor and we are terminating that relationship.”
The National Basketball Players Association also put out a statement in support of Kanter on Thursday, saying it “fully supports our players using their platforms to stand up for their beliefs and the principles they support. We stand with Enes and, as with all of our players, will work to ensure that he is treated fairly and with respect.”
Kanter has been a vocal critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been waging an all-out war against US-based preacher Fethullah Gülen and accuses him of orchestrating a July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Although Gülen denies any involvement, the regime in Turkey has gone after his supporters.
More than 510 0,000 people including dozens of journalists, judges, academics, doctors, teachers and many from other backgrounds have been detained over Gulen links and 90,000 were remanded in pretrial detention so far.
Kanter is accused of membership in Gulen movement, with his social media posts cited as “evidence” in the extradition request that Turkey has prepared.
Turkey had revoked Kanter’s passport in 2017 and attempted to have him deported him from Romania during one of his international trips.
Since then, Kanter has elected to stay in the US.