Turkey's Enes Kanter subjected to death threats for political views

Ben Rohrbach
Turkish big man <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4899/" data-ylk="slk:Enes Kanter">Enes Kanter</a> has been subjected to death threats on Twitter for his political views. (Getty Images)
Turkish big man Enes Kanter has been subjected to death threats on Twitter for his political views. (Getty Images)

 

Following the failed military coup in his home country, Turkish big man Enes Kanter received a series of death threats for his outspoken opposition to president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent years.

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The Oklahoma City Thunder forward posted screenshots of several threats in a series of posts on Twitter, including imagery of deadly weapons and nooses, alongside the phrases, “You will die soon,” and, “You’ll be executed,” according to Sportando. In response, Kanter explained in a Turkish statement translated by The Oklahoman, “Death threats continue to fall. Prayer does not stand still.”




Last summer, Kanter claimed he was left off the roster for Turkey’s national basketball team at EuroBasket 2015 because of “the values I believe in and my political stance,” which includes support of exiled Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement promoting an inclusive Islamic faith.

On Saturday, Erdogan publicly accused Gulen of igniting the failed military coup attempt and called on the United States to extradite the 75-year-old from his adopted home in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Gulen denied the Turkish president’s allegations and accused his government of harassing people “in a similar fashion to Hitler’s SS forces.” On Twitter, Kanter continued to pledge his support for Gulen.

Sans Kanter, Turkey’s national team failed to punch its ticket to Rio after losing to France in the semifinals of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the Philippines earlier this month.

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Kanter is not the first NBA player to find himself in unfortunate headlines after the failed coup, as Brooklyn Nets wing Bojan Bogdanovic reportedly escaped by boat from a vacation destination near where Erdogan’s hotel was allegedly targeted by a bombing attempt on Turkey’s Aegean coast.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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