Turkish prosecutors are seeking an international arrest warrant for New York Knicks center Enes Kanter.
According to Turkey publication, the Daily Sabah (h/t ESPN), the player is being accused of belonging to a terrorist organization and the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office has also prepared an extradition request.
The Turkish paper reports that prosecutors are keen on an Interpol "Red Notice" as they believe that Kanter provided financial support to US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, a group credited with a failed coup in 2016.
PREVIOUSLY: KNICKS & KINGS DISCUSSING ENES KANTER TRADE
Turkish Government can NOT present any single piece of evidence of my wrongdoing. 🤷♂️— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) January 16, 2019
I don’t even have a parking ticket in the US 😂 (True)
I have always been a law-abiding resident. 😇 https://t.co/DxLgvFcTST
The center, who reacted to the news via Twitter on Wednesday, has refused to travel to London with the Knicks for a game against the Washington Wizards due to take place at the O2 Stadium on January 17 amid fears he could be assassinated because of his public opposition of current Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Sadly, I’m not going because of that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president,” Kanter said earlier this month. “It’s pretty sad that all the stuff affects my career and basketball, because I want to be out there and help my team win. But just because of the one lunatic guy, one maniac, one dictator, I can’t even go out there and do my job. It’s pretty sad.”
The player met with Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday to discuss the issues regarding his status with the Turkish government.
“My teammates and even my friends are always [asking] me if I’m crazy or not, why ... you keep talking about these issues because [my] family is still back in Turkey,” he told the senator, per the Miami Herald. “People don’t understand, I play in the NBA and I have a very big platform so I’m using this big platform to be the voice of people who don’t have a voice.”
Kanter has been critical of Erdogan for several years and has referred to the president as "the Hitler of our country" in the past. His father, Mehmet, was indicted last year after being charged with "membership in a terror group". The former professor would lose his job despite having publicly condemned his son and his beliefs.
NBA player Enes Kanter writes for The Post: "Anyone who speaks out against Erdogan is a target. That includes me." https://t.co/BJ8E9DpBxm— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 15, 2019
What This Means
Per Interpol, a Red Notice is a request that, if approved, allows the locating and provisional arrest of a suspect pending extradition.
In order for Kanter to be extradited, the United States would have to find evidence of the player committing a crime that would be punishable in America.
As to whether or not such evidence will be uncovered is left up to time but, at the moment, this development does have the markings of victimization on Turkey's part.