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Turkey asserts new allegations against Enes Kanter

The Turkish government’s feud with Enes Kanter has escalated.

On January 17, the New York Knicks  face the Washington Wizards in London as part of an international showcase. New York has known that Kanter would not be able to travel with the team due to a suspended passport. The suspension was caused by the Turkish government, who sought an international arrest warrant against Kanter for speaking out against Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan. As of Wednesday, things have escalated, as Turkey now seeks to extradite Kanter on claims that he has ties to a terrorist organization. Now, Kanter faces extradition,  but things may not be so open and closed.

More than Basketball

Besides basketball, this whole ordeal has been taxing on Kanter and his family. Back in September, Kanter was able to tell his side of the story, thanks to Times magazine. He revealed that his criticism is based on his belief that Turkey’s current state is that of dictatorial regime run by Erodogan. Kanter recognizes the gravity of the situation, expressing fear of assassination or arrest abroad. His fears have validity, especially since he was already detained once for traveling with a revoked passport. Additionally, his own father had to stand trial on his behalf.

In spite of all of this, Kanter hasn’t necessarily backed down. He continues to assert his innocence through social media and make fun of the whole situation. He’s also asserted that Turkey doesn’t have any evidence to validate their claim. Turkish prosecutors have yet to prove otherwise. Until they can present more than their allegations, the United States will likely not be sending the big man packing.

Not So Fast

Turkey has asserted that Kanter supported a failed coup back in 2016, which gives them a basis for their extradition. Turkey had also looped Interpol to put out a red notice on Kanter’s extradition. Now, at this point, Kanter isn’t going anywhere. An extradition is just a request to send a person back to the country where they are accused of committing a crime. Here, Turkey would have to convince the U.S. that Kanter’s alleged crimes are of the type that could be prosecuted in this country. If Turkey is successful, Kanter could be extradited. However, the U.S. has no obligation to cooperate with the Turkish government. Therefore, unless the U.S. government agrees to turnover Kanter, he isn’t going anywhere.

In Conclusion

In spite of everything on the basketball court, what’s happening off the court may have more of Kanter’s attention. For the time being, he is sitting tight in the U.S. Thus far, no agreements have been reached to cooperate with Turkey. Unless the United States does agree, Kanter will be staying put.

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Andre is the New York Knicks Lead Writer for
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