Turkish government seeking international warrant to arrest Knicks' Enes Kanter

Prosecutors in Turkey are seeking an international arrest warrant for New York Knicks star Enes Kanter, in connection to a 2016 coup that nearly removed Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Turkish prosecutors allege that Kanter is part of a terrorist organization headed by cleric Fethullah Gulen, and claim that the group incited the failed 2016 coup. Kanter has said that he’s a follower of Gulen, but both he and Gulen (who now lives in Pennsylvania) have denied any involvement in the coup. The Associated Press is reporting that in addition to an international arrest warrant, Turkish officials have also prepared an extradition request.

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Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter speaks about the revocation of his Turkish passport and return to the United States at National Basketball Players Association headquarters in New York, U.S., May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter speaks about the revocation of his Turkish passport and return to the United States at National Basketball Players Association headquarters in New York, U.S., May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter speaks about the revocation of his Turkish passport and return to the United States at National Basketball Players Association headquarters in New York, U.S., May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter speaks about the revocation of his Turkish passport and return to the United States at National Basketball Players Association headquarters in New York, U.S., May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Apr 11, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter (11) shoots the ball over Minnesota Timberwolves forward Omri Casspi (18) in the second half at Target Center. The Thunder won 100-98. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter (11) drives to the basket in front of Utah Jazz center Jeff Withey (24) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe (15) fouls Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter (11) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Enes Kanter of Turkey speaks to reporters at a media availability session ahead of the 2011 NBA Draft in New York, June 22, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
May 24, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter (11) and Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston (34) battle for the ball during the second half in game four of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22: Turkish NBA Player Enes Kanter speaks to media during a news conference about his detention at a Romanian airport on May 22, 2017 in New York City. Kanter returned to the U.S. after being detained for several hours at a Romanian airport following statements he made criticizing Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 23: Enes Kanter #11 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks the ball against the Houston Rockets during Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 9: Enes Kanter #11 of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes to the basket against the Denver Nuggets on April 9, 2017 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 26: Enes Kanter #11 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives to the basket against the Houston Rockets on March 26, 2017 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MARCH 11: Enes Kanter #11 of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a lay up during a game against the Utah Jazz on March 11, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Kanter has remained outspoken and fearless in his criticism of Erdogan, which is why he believes he’s being targeted by the Turkish government. On Tuesday an op-ed he wrote was published in the Washington Post, titled “Anyone who speaks out against Erdogan is a target. That includes me.” He has continued to tweet and give interviews on the topic.

Kanter’s Turkish passport was seized in 2017, when he was nearly arrested and sent back to Turkey during a layover in Romania. Since then he has refrained from traveling outside of the United States over fears that he could be arrested. While the Knicks have traveled to London to play the Washington Wizards on Thursday, Kanter has stayed home. But he used the time to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss human rights issues in Turkey.

 

 

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