Enes Kanter explains what happened with the Turkish government, Long Island basketball camp
New center for the Boston Celtics Enes Kanter has a loaded history with the Turkish government and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kanter, a 27-year-old citizen of Turkey, has been outspoken about human rights violations in his home country and alleges President Erdogan of being a dictator, even comparing him to Adolf Hitler. Kanter is a strong supporter of the exiled Muslim leader Fethullah Gulen, who has been living in Pennsylvania. Kanter claims he’s received death threats and last year his father, Mehmet, was arrested by Turkish officials; Enes has been tried without physically being present in Turkey and during the summer of 2017 his passport was revoked and he was momentarily stranded in a European airport before seeking asylum in the United States.
Kanter explained his ongoing situation with Turkey, along with the recent develop when he accused “goons” on behalf of Erdogan in coercing a Long Island, New York, Islamic center in closing his free basketball camp for children, per Alex Kennedy in HoopsHype:
I was going to do a basketball camp in Long Island. It’s very weird and very sad that the Turkish consulate would cancel a camp in America. … You shouldn’t be deciding whether I can do a foreign basketball camp. But they called the mosque and said, “If you do a basketball camp with Enes Kanter, you guys aren’t allowed in Turkey anymore.” I was actually in Washington DC talking to Senators when we got the text message saying that the basketball camp in Long Island was canceled. I was so sad. This is the second time that’s happened … I had a meeting with the Congresswoman from that district, Kathleen Rice. I told her my story and her eyes started watering. She said, “There’s no way we’re canceling this camp. We’ll relocate it and do this camp.” We relocated it and today, the 28th, we have a bunch of kids coming and the Congresswoman is actually coming to the camp too.
Some people do basketball camps just in the city they play or where they’re from. For me, with all of these Turkey issues, I’m grateful that America gave me a home and I feel like I owe something to America. I want to give back to America.
The 6-foot-11 center enters his ninth NBA season in 2019-20 and his first with the Celtics in the fall, joining newly signed point guard Kemba Walker in Boston.