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On Wednesday, the Associated Press cited a report from Turkish newspaper Sabah that prosecutors in the country have prepared an extradition request for Kanter, an outspoken critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, based on his ties to preacher Fethullah Gulen.
The Knicks star responded to the situation on Twitter:
Enes Kanter @Enes_Kanter
Turkish Government can NOT present any single piece of evidence of my wrongdoing. 🤷♂️
I don’t even have a parking ticket in the US 😂 (True)
I have always been a law-abiding resident. 😇 https://t.co/DxLgvFcTST
Turkish officials are also reportedly working to put out an Interpol Red Notice, which is “a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition.” The notice would not require the United States to comply with the request.
Kanter’s relationship with the Turkish government has been in the spotlight since May 2017, when he posted a Twitter video while being detained at a Romanian airport and called Erdogan the “Hitler of our century:”
His Turkish passport was then revoked.
Kanter announced Jan. 5 that he wouldn’t travel to London for the Knicks’ international game against the Washington Wizards on Thursday over fears for his life because of Erdogan, who he referred to as a “lunatic:”
“I talk to the front office and decided I’m not going. The freaking lunatic, there’s a chance I can get killed out there. I talked to the front office. I’m not going. I’m going to stay here and practice. It’s pretty sad. All this stuff affects my career in basketball. I want to help my team win, but because of one lunatic guy I can’t even go there to do my job. It’s pretty sad. They got a lot of spies there. I can get killed pretty easy.”
Former NBA player Hedo Turkoglu, an Erdogan advisor, responded to Kanter’s accusations on social media last week:
The Knicks center started his professional career with Turkish squad Fenerbahce and has represented the country at the international level, including being named the MVP of the 2009 FIBA Europe U-18 Championship after leading the national team to a bronze medal.