Enes Kanter Says NY Basketball Camp Canceled After Turkish Consulate Threats

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 25, 2019

BOSTON, MA - JULY 17: Enes Kanter #11 of the Boston Celtics speaks to the media during the introductory press conference on July 17, 2019 at the Auerbach Center in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Babineau/Getty Images

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter said in a statement that his free basketball camp at the Islamic Center of Long Island (Westbury, New York) has been canceled after the Turkish Consulate issued threats against the mosque (h/t Ian Begley of SNY.tv):

Ian Begley @IanBegley

Enes Kanter was scheduled to host a basketball camp for kids this weekend at the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury, NY. Kanter says in a statement that the center has cancelled the camp following threats from the Turkish Consulate in NYC. Here is Kanter’s full statement: https://t.co/rOUgCoKnaa

Kanter, who has held 33 free summer basketball camps this year, has been outspoken regarding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's leadership. He wrote in a September 2018 Time article that he has "used every opportunity to make sure everyone knows about Erdogan's cruelty and disdain for human rights."

Kanter also said he has received significant backlash for his remarks:

"If you speak out against Erdogan, it can affect your whole life and everyone around you. It has been too dangerous for me to set foot in Turkey for three years. The last time I visited, the government destroyed my brothers' school and threw my dentist and his wife in prison. The regime arrested and charged a man for links to Gulen after I took a picture with his child, and went after a comedian after he exchanged a few tweets with me. Last year, Erdogan canceled my passport and put out an international warrant for my arrest. That means I am now stateless and pretty much can't leave the United States. It's interfering with my career, too.

"But far worse are the consequences it has had on my family. My siblings have been bullied in school. Our friends are too afraid to be associated with us. My father lost his job as a professor at a public university and now, if he loses the trial, he could face up to 10 years in prison."

Kanter also does not travel outside the United States: Per Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe, Erdogan revoked his passport, leading to concerns that Kanter will be arrested outside the U.S.

Kanter has been making progress on that front, per Yang:

Nicole Yang @nicolecyang

Per Senator Ed Markey's office, Markey and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden met with Enes Kanter today to discuss helping Kanter travel outside of the U.S. next season. https://t.co/gHHuVA3Pg9

"I thank Senators Markey and Wyden for their leadership, support not only for their efforts to restore basic human rights for myself, like travel, freedom of speech, but also indirectly helping millions of others in my shoes under Dictator Erdogan's oppression in Turkey," Kanter said in a statement.

As far as the camp's status, United States Representative Kathleen Rice revealed that she's working with Kanter on finding another location:

Kathleen Rice @RepKathleenRice

This is shameful. My office is working with @EnesKanter to find an alternative location nearby that can host his camp. These kids deserve this opportunity. Stay tuned for an update. #NY04 https://t.co/ZF2koxv6vJ

Kanter signed a two-year, $9,772,350 contract with the C's after splitting time with the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers last season. The 27-year-old averaged 13.7 points and 9.8 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game.

The Utah Jazz drafted him third overall in 2011. He played for the Oklahoma City Thunder between stints in Utah and New York.

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