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:
"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:
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.