Sen. Ron Wyden Writes Letter to Justin Trudeau to Ensure Enes Kanter's Safety

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2019

Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (00) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 5, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 119-110. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden wrote a letter on behalf of Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter asking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take extra precautions to ensure Kanter's safety during a potential NBA Finals series.

ESPN's Royce Young shared the details fo Wyden's letter:

"I ask your government to facilitate Mr. Kanter's safe passage to and from Canada should the Portland Trail Blazers play the Toronto Raptors in Toronto, Canada, in the upcoming NBA Finals. I also urge your government to state publicly that it will not comply with any Interpol red notice meant to interfere with Mr. Kanter's livelihood and to intimidate him and his family back in Turkey."

Kanter has frequently criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, going so far as to call Erdogan the "Hitler of our century" in May 2017.

Turkey canceled Kanter's passport in May 2017 and he was left stranded at a Romanian airport as a result. Shortly thereafter the country issued a warrant for Kanter's arrest and did so again in January.

The second arrest warrant went a step further as Turkey asked for his extradition and a red notice from Interpol, which the organization calls "a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action."

Kanter already missed Portland's 119-117 loss to the Raptors in Toronto on March 1, citing concerns over whether he'd be arrested on Canadian soil and deported to Turkey.

Earlier this season as a member of the New York Knicks, the 26-year-old didn't make the trip to London for a game against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 17. He told reporters he was worried about potential retaliation by Erdogan while traveling in London.

The Trail Blazers play the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, while the Raptors face off with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Were the teams to meet in the Finals, Toronto would have home-court advantage and thus host the first two games.

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