Kanter tweeted out a letter written by Wyden, the senator for Oregon, that was sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging the U.S. to "not stay silent in the face of such a blatant assault" on Kanter's right to free speech:
Kanter has been outspoken in his criticism of Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling him "the Hitler of our century" in May 2017 while being detained at a Romanian airport when his passport was revoked by the Turkish government:
Mehmet Kanter, Enes' father, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Turkish government in June 2018. Enes believes the arrest occurred because of his support for Fethullah Gulen, who was alleged to have been a key figure in a coup against Erdogan in 2016, though Gulen has denied the suggestion.
"Sadly, I'm not going because of that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president," Kanter told reporters. "There's a chance that I can get killed out there. So that's why I talked to the [Knicks'] front office. I'm not going."
Per the Associated Press (h/t The Guardian), Turkish prosecutors were seeking an international arrest warrant for Kanter on grounds he is part of a terrorist organization.
Kanter moved to the United States in 2009, two years before he was a third overall pick by the Utah Jazz.