Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter is wanted in his home country over his alleged association with a political separatist movement, according to an AFP report based off a pro-government Turkish newspaper.
A judge in Turkey issued a warrant for Kanter’s arrest following an investigation to his alleged association with separatist leader Fethullah Gulen, who was accused of attempting to stage a coup to overthrow president Recep Tayyip Erdogan last July. Kanter was being investigated for “membership [in] an armed terrorist organisation,” as Turkish officials phrased it.
Kanter, 25, has openly backed Gulen in the past and also hit out publicly at Erdogan, likening him to Hitler.
The arrest warrant cites Kanter’s alleged use of an an encrypted messaging application created for Gulen’s supporters to use. Gulen’s Hizmet movement has provided a public resistance to Erdogan’s government, but Gulen has strongly denied plotting against Turkey’s government.
Kanter referenced the story in a Twitter post as translated below.
"You cannot catch me. Hahaha. Don't waste your energy.
"I am already going to come to (Turkey) to spit on all of your ugly, hate-filled faces."
Kanter was detained in Romania over the weekend after the cancelation of his Turkish passport and is now back in the United States. He said Monday he would seek American citizenship, and that the cancelation was because of his open criticism of Erdogan’s government. Erdogan has used his presidency to gain increasing amounts of power over the country, winning a referendum in April that increased his political powers, and has been criticized for his autocratic leadership.