After Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter made the NBA aware that his native country’s official NBA Twitter account, @NBATurkiye, omitted him in a tweet, the NBA has decided to terminate its relationship with the local vendor stationed in Turkey.
Kanter is a wanted man in Turkey for his criticisms of Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan and his allegiance to Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric and conservative political figure the government accuses of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016.
“Whoever runs the official account, NBA Turkey, lives in Turkey. Look how sad this is, they can’t even put my name out there because they’re scared,” Kanter told The Washington Post. “They know if they put my name out there, they could get in trouble or they might even end up in jail. That shows it’s a dictatorship. That shows there’s no freedom of speech in Turkey. It’s crazy. Basketball reporters in Turkey cannot even say my name because they will all be in trouble.”
Kanter once dubbed Erdogan “the Hitler of our century.” In turn, Kanter is listed as a terrorist and traitor to his native country and is subject to arrest if he were to ever return to Turkish soil.
Before being traded to the Blazers, Kanter declined to travel to play in a January London game with his New York Knicks teammates against the Washington Wizards for fear of arrest or assassination by Turkish agents.