The Knicks’ Enes Kanter Faces His Toughest Opponent: His President

Kanter’s father, mom and sister stay in Turkey. He has not seen them since 2015 when, he mentioned, the federal government destroyed his brother’s college, imprisoned his dentist, and arrested a person after his youngster took an image with Kanter.

In 2016, the Kanter household’s home was raided and their electronics had been taken.

Kanter has stopped speaking with them due to the concern of retribution.

His brother Kerem performed basketball professionally in France and is now based mostly in Chicago hoping to land a spot within the N.B.A.’s developmental league. Kanter’s youngest brother, Ahmet, performs highschool basketball in Atlanta and is because of return to highschool this week after spending winter break in Turkey.

Kanter mentioned he doesn’t assume his current feedback — he referred to as Erdogan a lunatic, a maniac and a dictator in a single fell swoop — will additional jeopardize his household. On the opposite, he mentioned he thinks being outspoken will safe his household’s security. If Turkish officers detain his brother on the airport or throw his father in jail, Kanter mentioned, his voice will solely develop louder.

“I will speak to every newspaper and make it one of the biggest stories,” he mentioned.

Kanter has an in depth relationship with Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania for almost 20 years and who the Turkish authorities has accused of masterminding a bloody coup try in July 2016. Gulen denies the accusation.

Kanter visits Gulen each two weeks when not touring with the Knicks. For a long time, Gulen’s Hizmet motion has claimed to be attempting to push the nation towards democracy, schooling and cultural openness. But critics say the motion has secretly undermined democracy by infiltrating its followers into authorities establishments in an effort to seize energy.

Kanter mentioned he was with Gulen in Pennsylvania the evening of the coup try, praying for peace. That remark probably will outrage many in Turkey; the main coup plotters had been Gulen followers who ordered tanks and planes towards protesters, killing 251 folks, together with a number of troopers and 60 policemen.

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