Knicks Player Enes Kanter Risks Everything to Stand Up to The Turkish Government

NBA star Enes Kanter hasn’t spoken to his parents since 2015 because he is an enemy of the government in his home country.

“[This situation] affected me, at the same time it affected my parents,” the 26-year-old New York Knicks player explained. “You know, right now my dad can’t even go to grocery shopping because last time he went there I think they spit on his face. They said, ‘You’re a father of Enes.’”

Kanter has lived in the U.S since 2009 and has been an outspoken critic of Turkish President Erdogan for his alleged human rights abuses and erosion of press freedom.

“I have a voice. I have a very strong voice because I play basketball in the NBA,” he said. “So why not use it in a good cause? Use it to help people.”

Kanter has been publicly criticizing President Erdogan since the 2016 Turkish military coup attempt. Erdogan blamed the attempt on the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen of whom Kanter is a close follower. Meanwhile, 50,000 people have been imprisoned and are awaiting trial since 2016 under Erdogan.

Because of his vocal views against the Turkish leader, Kanter’s father has been repeatedly indicted, and others who have been associated with him have also faced punishment. But he says he will never stop using his voice to raise awareness about the injustices of his home country.

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