The Turkish government is demanding that the New York Knicks Center, Enes Kanter, be arrested and extradited to Turkey to face charges of links with a terrorist organization, according to CNN.
The news of the extradition request and the notification of his arrest by Interpol about his arrest come weeks after the Turkish Kanter announced that he would not travel to London to attend a match at London, for fear of being arrested or killed by Turkish agents.
"Thursday, I will not be able to go to work when my team, the New York Knicks, will face the Washington Wizards in London," Kanter wrote in a Washington Post editorial on Tuesday. "It is quite too risky." Erdogan uses Interpol, the international law enforcement organization that has 194 member countries, as a tool to stop critics in other countries I do not have US citizenship yet nor an American passport, which could protect me, so I can not risk traveling abroad. "
Why does Turkey want to stop it?
The specific allegation against Kanter is related to his ties with the Turkish religious Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused of being the brain behind a coup attempt State of 2016. Gulen has been living in Pennsylvania for 20 years in a "self-imposed exile," according to CNN.
Kanter has long denied any wrongdoing and says the Turkish government is simply trying to silence a prominent critic.
"The Turkish government can not present any evidence of my wrongdoing," Kanter wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. "I do not even have a parking ticket in the United States (that's right) .I have always been a law-abiding resident."
"The only thing I terrorize is the rim," Kanter wrote in another tweet.
How long has it been a problem?
Kanter, a veteran of the NBA who has never stopped speaking openly against Erdogan, has understood for a while that the Turkish authorities were trying to stop him. In May 2017, Kanter was almost stuck abroad when the Turkish Embassy canceled his passport while he was in Romania.
Kanter was trying to return to the United States after being forced to flee Indonesia because the Turkish government had warned the Indonesian authorities that it was dangerous. Kanter was in Indonesia to run a children's basketball camp.
What is he doing while the team is gone?
While he was unable to accompany his team to London, Kanter decided to take advantage of his free time to meet with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.), among other legislators. the week. He and Rubio discussed the persecution of critics by Erdogan and the dangers they could present for Americans in Turkey.
"I have reason to believe that the Turkish government led by Erdogan views Americans and arresting them as a valuable lever, a concession that they can give the US government in exchange for a policy," he said. said Rubio.