New Celtics center Enes Kanter is one of many professional athletes who uses his platform to talk about social and political issues that are important to him. But unlike his peers, Kanter’s words literally put his family members’ lives in jeopardy, never mind his own.
When you phrase it like that, being on the receiving end of an incendiary tweet from the President’s caustic Twitter feed doesn’t seem so bad.
Kanter, who’s from Turkey, regularly denounces the authoritarian regime of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As a result, Kanter’s Turkish passport has been cancelled, an an arrest warrant has been issued for him in his native country. Without citing evidence, the Erdogan regime says the NBA veteran is part of a terrorist organization.
Kanter expanded on his situation Wednesday at his introductory Celtics press conference, explaining he thinks there’s an onus on him to speak out against the atrocities and abuses of power in his homeland. “It’s tough; it’s very complicated –– all the stuff that’s going on,” Kanter told reporters. “But because I have a platform, I’m trying to use it for the voice of all the innocent people who don’t have one. In my country there is no freedom, there is no democracy, there are no human rights. So I’m trying to bring awareness to all of these people about what’s really going on in Turkey.”
Since Kanter is without a passport –– he’s slated to become a U.S. citizen in two years –– it’s uncertain whether he can safely leave the country. Last season, he skipped the Blazers’ trip to Toronto due to the Turkish government’s extradition request against him. On Wednesday, Kanter said he’s scheduled to meet with Sen. Ed Markey to talk about his situation and international safety.
While Kanter fears arrest if he crosses the U.S. border, members of his family are in danger every day. Still, Kanter says he doesn’t regret being outspoken.
“A lot of people tell me I’m crazy to do it, because my family is still back in Turkey,” Kanter said. “But there are thousands and thousands of people in jail right now in Turkey. They’re suffering. When you talk about this stuff, you’re not going to get big contracts or big endorsements or this and that. But what I’m doing, I think is way bigger than basketball.”
Full article @ Enes Kanter Celtics press conference: Center explains why he won’t stop speaking out against Turkey’s dictator
Source: GreenStreet Blog