Enes Kanter won’t travel with the Trail Blazers for their game in Toronto and it is not because he’s injured, but because he fears for his life outside the United States, according to media.
NBC Sports reported Feb 28 that Kanter will not show up in Toronto for Friday’s game against Toronto Raptors due to a red notice the Turkish government has submitted to Interpol soliciting his arrest.
His skipping an abroad game came as the second of such incident as Kanter avoided flying to London for his former team New York Knicks’ game against Washington Wizards in early January.
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 220,000 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.