Enes Kanter, the Turkish center for the New York Knicks, said in an interview on Thursday that he does not speak for himself as one of the targets of the regime in Turkey but to be the voice of the voiceless.
Kanter, in an interview with TR724, said he has lately chosen to speak more to the international media after the Turkish government requested an Interpol Red Notice for him on allegations of “terrorist organization membership,” to tell people more about the case of hundreds of thousands of families in Turkey in a similar situation.
A strong critic of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a supporter of his arch enemy Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, Kanter is labeled as a terrorist by the regime. The Turkish government recently issued an arrest warrant for him after attempts to have him deported from Romania and Indonesia in 2017 by revoking his passport.
“The issue is not to talk about my problems but to talk about the hundreds of thousands of families in a similar situation,” Kanter told TR724.
Following the 2017 attempts at deportation to Turkey, Kanter stopped leaving the US and chose not to travel to London last week with his team, citing security concerns. He said technically he can travel with a travel document issued by the US but is concerned about death threats he receives from Erdoğan supporters around the world.
“I receive a lot of death threats on social media. I don’t know how many of them are serious, but it’s not worth taking such a risk,” he said in his latest interview.
Kanter said he takes all possible precautions in the US and feels safe there but prefers not to travel abroad.
Turkey has accused Muslim preacher Gülen of orchestrating a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and is persecuting his followers.
Kanter also noted in the interview that on the day of the failed coup he was sitting next to Gülen at his retreat in Pennsylvania and said the cleric was surprised and sad to hear about the coup attempt.