New York Knicks heart Enes Kanter introduced Friday he is not going to journey to London for the staff’s upcoming worldwide sport in opposition to the Washington Wizards on Jan. 17 as a result of he believes he might be assassinated for his opposition to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kanter, 26, a local of Turkey, made the announcement after the Knicks’ victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Knicks later mentioned Kanter won’t be able to make the journey due to visa points.
Whereas talking to reporters, Kanter mentioned he would keep in New York and follow whereas his staff traveled.
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“I talked to the entrance workplace and sadly I’m not going due to that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president,” he mentioned. “There’s an opportunity I can get killed on the market. That’s why I talked to the entrance workplace, and I’m not going so I’m simply going to remain right here and simply follow right here.”
Kanter continued, saying, “It’s fairly unhappy” that he can’t journey with the Knicks and be there for his staff.
“It’s fairly unhappy that every one these things impacts my profession and basketball as a result of I wish to be on the market and assist my teammates however simply due to that one lunatic man, one maniac, one dictator I can’t go on the market and simply do my job,” he mentioned.
When requested if he actually thought he might be killed if he went to the UK, he replied, “Oh yeah, straightforward. They’ve obtained numerous spies there. I feel I can get killed there very straightforward. It might be a really ugly scenario.”
NBA STAR KANTER GETS ‘THREE OR FOUR DEATH THREATS EVERY WEEK’
Kanter has been a vocal critic of Erdogan for years, as soon as referring to him as “the Hitler of our century.” His Turkish passport was revoked in 2017, and a global warrant for his arrest was issued by Turkey.
Kanter is a follower of a U.S.-based Turkish cleric accused by Turkey’s authorities of masterminding a failed navy coup in 2016. The athlete’s father, Mehmet, was indicted final 12 months and charged with “membership in a terror group.” The previous professor misplaced his job after the failed navy coup regardless that he publicly disavowed his son and his beliefs.
In July, Kanter advised Fox Information he will get “three or 4 loss of life threats each week.” He mentioned he believed the threats are from pro-Erdogan supporters each in Turkey and the broader diaspora.
Kanter mentioned he feels protected within the U.S.
“However anyplace outdoors America could be very harmful,” he mentioned.
Fox Information’ Hollie McKay and the Related Press contributed to this report.