Knicks’ Kanter to skip London trip, fearing Erdogan reprisal

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Getty Image

It's pretty sad because it affects my career, my basketball.

"I talked to the front office and decided I'm not going". It escalated to the point where Turkey called him a terrorist and actually issued a warrant for his arrest. I could get killed very easy. I'm not going. So I'm just going to stay here, just practice here.

Kanter himself is facing a four-year prison sentence from Erdogan's regime, which he is unlikely to ever carry out due to the tremendously low odds of extradition from the United States.

"They've got a lot of spies there", he said. This year, British fans will get to see the New York Knicks play against the Washington Wizards.

New York Knicks center Enes Kanter says he will not travel to London for his side's upcoming National Basketball Association game with the Washington Wizards because he is fearful of being assassinated for his views on the Turkish government.

The following month Kanter's father was detained by the Turkish government because of his son's political views, Kanter said.

Not long after this, Knicks officials tried to put a better spin on this saying it was a "visa issue". "There's a chance I can get killed out there".

The basketball star's father, former professor Mehmet Kanter, was indicted in Turkey past year and charged with "membership in a terror group", AP reported, although he had publicly disavowed his son's beliefs.

Kanter's clash with Erdogan stems from his vocal support of Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Islamic cleric now living Pennsylvania who Erdogan publicly accused of organizing a failed coup attempt in 2016.

In 2017, the Turkish government cancelled Kanter's passport, forcing him to cut short a planned trip to Romania and return to the USA, where he is a permanent resident and due to get citizenship in two years.

New York Knicks center Enes Kanter announced Friday he will not travel to London for the team's upcoming worldwide game against the Washington Wizards on January 17 because he fears for his safety. "There could be a very ugly situation".

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