Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter earlier this year was scheduled to host a camp at the Islamic Center of Long Island. However, according to Kanter, the Turkish Consulate in New York pressured the mosque to get the event canceled per, Vox’s Jen Kirby.
The event was canceled because of Kanter’s criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Kanter was born in Zürich, Switzerland, on May 20, 1992, to Turkish parents and raised in Turkey. His outspokenness has made him public enemy number one in Turkey, and the Turkish government has revoked his passport in 2017 and dubbed his family members of terrorists, according to AP News.
“For me, it was just so sad that a foreign embassy in the United States had bullied an American mosque,” Kanter said of the incident. “For me, it was sad.”
According to Michael Balboni, who was a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Long Island shared with CNN at the time that both the Turkish Consulate and “[a] few members of the Turkish Community” had contacted the mosque about Kanter, “saying, ‘you need to check this guy out.’” Balboni said that they’d decided to postpone the basketball camp because they “don’t take sides,” and they thought it “would take some air out of the hot air balloon and put the focus back on the event being about kids and basketball.”
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Kanter Provides an Update on his Situation With Turkey
Recently Kanter spoke with Fanatics View before the Celtics took on the Dallas Mavericks gave an update on his situation with the Turkish government.
“It has not changed,” said Kanter. “Things are getting worse; I’m trying to speak out and create awareness as much as I can. But at the end of the day, I’m only a basketball player, so I’m trying to be the voice for all those innocent people out there.”
“It is very important because it is bigger than basketball. It is bigger than myself because people out there are out there losing their homes, and love ones. So, it is very important for me to use my platform to talk about several issues,” Kanter said.
Has Kanter and Hedo Turkoglu Mended Fences?
It has been heavily documented that Enes Kanter and Hedo Turkoglu have been on opposites sides regarding Turkey’s government. So, has anything changed between the two?
“No, not really. Obviously, Hedo is a ‘Lap Dog’ to the president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan]. It is very sad because he was my really good friend, but now seeing him pick the wrong side and making the wrong decisions, it’s very sad. It’s sad because he picked money over principle. That’s why he wants to be a part of the president’s side. He knows what is going on over there is wrong, and it’s sad that’s why I call him a ‘Lap Dog,’ Kanter shared with Fanatics View.
According to ESPN’s Nicole Noren back in May, Turkoglu hasn’t spoken to Kanter and said he doesn’t send messages to supporters of terrorist organizations.
“I don’t send messages to terrorist organization supporters.” In response to a question about how Americans should view the saga between Kanter and Turkish government officials, Turkoglu said: “All I have to say to all my American fellows, be careful.”
Kantar and Turkoglu played together on the 2011 Turkish national team.