Enes Kanter Says He Would’ve Been Killed If He’d Been Extradited to Turkey


NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22:  Turkish NBA Player Enes Kanter speaks to media during a news conference about his detention at a Romanian airport on May 22, 2017 in New York City. Kanter returned to the U.S. after being detained for several hours at a Romanian airport following statements he made criticizing Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter believes he would have been killed if authorities sent him to Turkey after his passport got canceled last month. 

TMZ Sports passed along comments the 25-year-old Switzerland native, who’s represented Turkey at the international level but remains at odds with the current Turkish government, made to Vice News about his detainment in Romania.

“I would be in a jail,” Kanter said, “and probably the second day you’ll hear from the news, ‘Oh, he just got poisoned and he just died. He got food poisoning.’ Or, ‘He was [depressed] and hanged himself.'”

Here’s the complete Vice News piece on the subject:

TMZ Sports noted Kanter has referred to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the “Hitler of our generation,” which caused the government to issue an arrest warrant for the NBA player.

Royce Young of ESPN.com noted the former Fenerbahce standout said in early June his father Mehmet, who he hasn’t spoken with in almost two years, was arrested in Turkey.

“Right now, even if I try to communicate with my parents, my mom or dad or brother or sister, [the government] will probably listen to their phones and as soon as they are in contact with me, they will put them in a jail—and the jails are not fun,” Kanter said after returning to the U.S. last month, per Young. “Right now, my family can’t even go out to eat. My brother told me that my dad went to the supermarket and they spit on his face.”

He won a bronze medal with the Turkish national team at the 2009 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship in France.

Kanter, who averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds last season, has one more guaranteed year left in his current contract with the Thunder. He can decline a player option to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

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