OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City Thunder player says if he was sent back to his home country, he believes he would likely be murdered.
In May, Enes Kanter learned that the Turkish government was trying to find him while he was overseas for a series of basketball clinics for his foundation.
Immediately, Kanter says he knew that he needed to get back to the United States as fast as possible.
After arriving in Romania, Kanter learned that Turkey had cancelled his passport, meaning he would not be able to enter the country.
Kanter has been an outspoken opponent of current Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
“He’s a bad, bad, man. He’s a dictator and he’s the Hitler of our century,” said Enes Kanter from an airport while he was detained in Romania.
After reaching out to Oklahoma leaders and the NBA, Kanter was allowed to board a flight to New York.
Once back on U.S. soil, Kanter learned that a foreign arrest warrant had been issued in his name, claiming that he was associated with terrorists.
The Daily Sabah reported that the warrant was issued due to Kanter’s support of cleric Fethullah Gulen, an Erdogan opponent who now lives in Pennsylvania.
Kanter recently spoke with VICE News about the ordeal.
He says he believes that if he was extradited back to Turkey, he would have been thrown in jail and murdered.
“I would be in jail and probably the second day, you’ll hear from the news, ‘Oh, he just got poisoned and he died. He got food poisoning.’ Or ‘He was depression and hanged himself.’ I don’t know, I’m just giving examples. Because when I talk, it goes everywhere. They hate it,” he said.
Kanter says he loves his family and his country, but he feels like he has to speak out to bring attention to the plight of the Turkish people.