A NBA player of Turkish decent won’t travel to London for a game because he fears the country’s government might send spies to kill him, according to a report. New York Knicks Center Enes Kanter, who is reportedly a wanted criminal in Turkey because he openly criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will miss the regular season game against the Bucks on Jan. 17. He also can’t go to England because his passport was revoked, the New York Daily News reports. “I talked to the front office and they said I’m not going because of that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president,” Kanter reportedly said. “There’s a chance that I can get killed out there. So that’s why I talked to the front office. I’m not going so I’m just going to stay here, just practice. It’s pretty sad because it affects my career, my basketball. Because I want to be out there but just because of that one lunatic guy, that one maniac, I can’t go out there and do my job. It’s pretty sad.” When asked about getting killed in Europe, Kanter replied, “Oh yeah. Easy. They have a lot of spies there. I can be killed easily.” Kanter, who slammed Edrogan as “the Hitler of our century,” was detained in Romania during a trip to Europe in 2017 after Turkey revoked his travel documents, The News notes. Turkish officials said that Kanter, who was promoting his charitable foundation at the time, would be extradited and jailed. He was freed, however, after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, State Department and NBA players union stepped in, per The News.
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