It appears as though Enes Kanter’s encounter with the Turkish government is just beginning. Turkey has issued an arrest warrant for the 25-year-old big man, accusing him of being a member of a terrorist organization.
“Turkey issued an arrest warrant on Friday for Turkish NBA star Enes Kanter, accusing him of being a member of a “terror group”, a pro-government newspaper reported. A judge issued the arrest warrant after an Istanbul prosecutor opened an investigation into Kanter’s alleged “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”, Sabah daily reported.
Sabah daily added that the prosecutor would apply for an Interpol red notice — to inform Interpol’s 190 members that someone’s arrest is sought and thus ensure their deportation — to the justice ministry.”
Today’s development comes on the heels of Kanter being held in Romania last weekend, when the Turkish government canceled his passport while he traveled on behalf of his foundation. He returned to the United States safe and sound, but quickly launched a media tour that routinely featured harsh criticisms of Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He event went as far as to say Erdoğan is “the Hitler of our century”, so today’s arrest warrant is not a complete surprise. In fact, Kanter himself seemed amused at the news on Twitter.
Translation: “You cannot catch me. Hahaha. Don’t waste your energy. I am already going to come to Turkey to spit on all of your ugly, hate-filled faces.”
That escalated quickly.
It’s yet to be seen if this changes much of anything, but Kanter is better off staying in the United States for the foreseeable future. While he may want to go to Turkey and spit in hateful faces, he’s now assured imprisonment for stepping foot in the country. Whether the charges being levied against him are legitimate or not, they are very serious.
“NBA star Kanter is being accused of using a smart phone application known as ByLock and praising the faith-based Gülen movement from his social media accounts. Turkish authorities believe ByLock is the top communication tool among the followers of the Gülen movement. The prosecutor’s office has also reportedly applied to Turkey’s Justice Ministry for it to ask Interpol to issue a red notice for Kanter.”
I don’t imagine we’ve heard the end of this story. We hope for continued safety for he and his family — particularly those that remain in Turkey.