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Prosecutors in Turkey are seeking an international arrest warrant for New York Knicks star Enes Kanter, in connection to a 2016 coup that nearly removed Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Turkish prosecutors allege that Kanter is part of a terrorist organization headed by cleric Fethullah Gulen, and claim that the group incited the failed 2016 coup. Kanter has said that he’s a follower of Gulen, but both he and Gulen (who now lives in Pennsylvania) have denied any involvement in the coup. The Associated Press is reporting that in addition to an international arrest warrant, Turkish officials have also prepared an extradition request.
Kanter has remained outspoken and fearless in his criticism of Erdogan, which is why he believes he’s being targeted by the Turkish government. On Tuesday an op-ed he wrote was published in the Washington Post, titled “Anyone who speaks out against Erdogan is a target. That includes me.” He has continued to tweet and give interviews on the topic.
Kanter’s Turkish passport was seized in 2017, when he was nearly arrested and sent back to Turkey during a layover in Romania. Since then he has refrained from traveling outside of the United States over fears that he could be arrested. While the Knicks have traveled to London to play the Washington Wizards on Thursday, Kanter has stayed home. But he used the time to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss human rights issues in Turkey.
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