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Trials and Tribulations: Kanter still wanted by Turkish government

On January 17, 2019, the New York Knicks are set to play a game in London. While the team is prepared to still be without Kristaps Porzingis at that point, they may need to prepare to also be without Enes Kanter. The Turkish center has lived the last year of his life without a passport, thanks to the Turkish government.

Last May, the Turkish government issued an arrest warrant for Enes Kanter of the New York Knicks. The situation, while obviously stressful, has yet to prevent Kanter from playing basketball here in the United States. However, that may change in 2019.

A Rebel with a Cause

The charges against Kanter are political in nature. The outspoken center was accused by a Turkish prosecutor for insulting the Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan. Shortly after, Kanter’s passport was revoked, resulting in him being briefly jailed in Romania for traveling without one. Upon his release and return to the U.S., Kanter took to Twitter to criticize the whole ordeal. Unwavering, Kanter defended himself, sarcastically asking for another four years for his alleged crimes. However, Kanter understands there is nothing funny about the situation.

Not a walk in the park

In September, Kanter was able to write a piece in Time magazine, explaining the whole ordeal. Kanter reiterated that he was not a dangerous criminal, just an outspoken critic of a dictatorial regime. As he explained, his family has also personally suffered for his political beliefs. His brothers have faced bullying in school and his parents have lost friends. Moreover, his father has lost his job and stood trial in September on his son’s behalf. The entire ordeal has left Kanter without a country and his family in peril.

Standing with Kanter

Because the issue is clearly bigger than basketball, the Knicks aren’t facing any serious repercussions right now. Kanter, however, can’t go home. His family is dealing with the fallout of the situation. Yes, he is still able to play basketball because of his green card, but that seems to pale in comparison to the bigger picture.

Kanter will unlikely be able to play on January 17. Until the front office and its legal counsel come up with a way to get Kanter to London, it looks like he will be missing the game.

For the time being, certainly for Kanter anyway, the more pressing issue is what will happen with him and his family. Thus, this is a time that all of New York should embrace Enes Kanter and support him through this. He is apart of this city, after all.

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Andre is the New York Knicks Lead Writer for
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