NBA player and Turkish national Enes Kanter held, then released in Romanian airport

Kanter said his political opposition to Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was the reason for his detainment

By Taylor Link
Published May 20, 2017 4:22PM (EDT)
 (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

NBA player and Turkish national Enes Kanter was detained at a Romanian airport on Saturday for, as he claims, his political opposition to Turkey's president, Recept Tayyip Erdogan.

In a video posted to Twitter early Saturday morning, Kanter said that his passport had been cancelled and that he had been held for hours.

"They say they cancelled my passport by Turkish embassy," Kanter said. "You know, they have been holding us here for hours by these two police. The reason behind it is, of course, my political views. The guy who did it, Recept Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey. He's attacking people in Washington. He's a bad, bad man. He's a dictator. And he's the Hitler of our century."

Kanter, 25, seemed to reference the recent brawl that took place at a protest rally outside the Turkish embassy in Washington. A video from VOA News appears to show Erdogan directing his bodyguards to attack the peaceful Kurdish demonstrators.

Kanter, a forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise in the NBA, is known to support American-based Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric who has been accused by Erdogan for attempting a failed coup last year, The Times reported.

Last month, Turkish police arrested more than 1000 people suspected of supporting Gulen.

A spokesman for the Romanian border police told The New York Times in an interview that Kanter had arrived from Frankfurt around 1:00 p.m. local time.

"My colleagues established that his travel documents weren’t valid, that they had been canceled by his home country, so he wasn’t allowed to enter the country," the spokesman told The Times.

Taylor Link

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Basketball Enes Kanter Nba Recep Tayyip Erdogan Romania Turkey