For those of you who don’t know, Enes Kanter is the 25-year-old Turkish center for the New York Knicks who is currently beefing with the president of Turkey.
In fact, the Turkish government now wants to jail Kanter for four years just for talking shit about their leader. So how did this all come about?
First thing you should know about Enes is that he has never been one to hold back on expressing his thoughts and opinions. If he sees something he doesn’t like, he’ll speak on it, whether it’s off or on the court.
In fact in an article on Sports Illustrated, he was given the title of the NBA’s “biggest troll” due to how big of a savage he is on social media.
Even though he’s built up a reputation of being a troll, recently Kanter has been using his platform to speak on political issues that have been going on in his home country.
Kanter’s biggest complaint with the Turkish government is about the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as Edroğan has slowly been overstepping the democratic boundaries as president of Turkey.
A referendum that was passed in Turkey last April gave Erdoğan the power to “control the Turkish budget, control the military, appoint judges, dissolve the parliament and extend his term limit.”
Basically this referendum gave him the ability to do whatever he’d like, and stay in power for as long as he wants (doesn’t that scream dictator?). He had the power to do so because about a year ago, there was a coup led by religious leader Fethullah Gülen, who is the leader of Gulen movement in Turkey.
The Gulen movemnt is based on the Islamic social and religious belief of inclusion, basically everyone should be able to do, and believe in what they like, a very progressive theory. The coup ended up failing, which basically just gave Edroğan more power and more of a following than he already had. He’s gone on to shut down schools and imprison more people who think differently than he does. According to a report by BBC,
“Since the thwarted coup, nearly 50,000 people have been detained, including many soldiers, journalists, lawyers, police officers, academics and Kurdish politicians. The authorities have sacked 120,000 public servants, and there are widespread complaints of AKP-inspired intimidation.”
Edroğan’s intolerant attitude has not been confined to just Turkey either. On a trip to our nation’s capital, he ordered his bodyguards to “harass” reporters and protesters questioning his movement.
Stand For What You Believe!
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) December 20, 2017
Now where does Enes fall into play here? Well he called the Turkish president a “terrible man” and even compared him as the “Hitler of our century.”
Oh yeah and there was a retweet that they didn’t really like either.
“After a military coup attempt in 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan placed blame for the attempt on Gulen and his supporters… Kanter appeared to mock the arrest warrant in his native Turkish as part of a retweet of the Daily Sabah’s report…”
Ever since Kanter has spoken out, Erdoğan and his executives have blocked Enes’ Twitter for the entire country and have tried multiple times to bring him back to Turkey to arrest him. For example, during a summer trip to Romania to appear at basketball camps and run clinics, Kanter was detained in the airport because his Turkish passport was cancelled.
Luckily, he was able to use his green card to get back into the United States. Also, Enes hasn’t been able to get in contact with his family for two years. They allegedly disowned him after the comments he made about Erdoğan.
Now, Turkish prosecutors have openly said to the Turkish media that they are looking to sentence Enes for more than four years due to the comments he’s made. Surprisingly, Enes doesn’t seem too worried about this.
In an interview with ESPN he laughed it off saying,
“‘I was like, ‘Oh, four years.’ I was like, ‘That’s it? Only four years? All the trash I’ve been talking?’ I said I promise you guys, it doesn’t really bother me a little, even one bit,’ he said. ‘My thing is just going out there and just playing basketball.’”
Whether you love or hate Enes as a basketball player, you gotta love how he’s advocating for his people, he just wants to get the word out there. He continued,
“People don’t understand. They’re saying you’re family is still back in Turkey — why are you doing all of this? Why are you talking? I’m just trying to be the voice of all of these innocent people, man.”
Enes isn’t really focused on going back to Turkey anytime soon. In fact he is working on speeding up the process of becoming a US citizen.
His only focus right now is having fun and playing basketball. In fact, he has quite the incentive to make the playoffs
“If we make playoffs, then that will drive him crazy, so that’s what I’m really focused on right now, just make the playoffs and drive this dude crazy…”
Keep on smiling Enes, we’re all rooting for you.
Life is Good…
Keep Smiling!! pic.twitter.com/jQJct6MqoJ
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) December 20, 2017