Knicks' Kanter to skip London trip, fearing Erdogan reprisal

Florence Fletcher
January 9, 2019

"It's pretty sad that all the stuff affects my career and basketball because I want to be out there and help my team win".

"Sadly, I'm not going because of that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president... I can be killed easily".

Enes Kanter has a reputation of shamelessly expressing himself on social media, in interviews, and during games. "So I'm just going to stay here", Kanter said of the decision to not travel to London with the rest of his team.

"They've got a lot of spies there", Kanter said. There's a chance that I can get killed out there.' - Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) January 5, 2019 'There is a chance I could get killed out there, Kanter, a longtime critic of Erdogan, told reporters.

NY center Enes Kanter will not travel to London for the Knicks' upcoming worldwide game because he believes he could be assassinated for his opposition to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Although born in Switzerland, Kanter is from Turkish descent and has played for Turkey's national Basketball team. "There could be a very ugly situation".

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The New Yorks Knicks will arrive in London without Mr Kanter for their game against the Washington Wizards. To Kanter, it's a safety matter, he said Friday night.

Kanter continued, saying, "It's pretty sad" that he can't travel with the Knicks and be there for his team. That embrace of Gulen has caused Kanter's family, who live in Turkey, to disown the center, though that didn't stop Kanter's father from being arrested and reportedly sentenced to 15 years in prison for "being a member of a terrorist organization".

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.

"But anywhere outside America would be very unsafe", he said.

A New York Knicks spokesman said Kanter had issues with his London visa, which made him decide not to travel to the UK. In 2017, Kanter's Turkish passport was cancelled and the Turkish government put a warrant out for his arrest for insulting Erdogan.

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