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Turkey Issues Yet Another Arrest Warrant for Enes Kanter

The Turkish New York Knicks center has been an outspoken critic of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

by Liam Daniel Pierce
Jan 16 2019, 8:28pm

Turkey is in the midst of crisis, with president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan flagged by several investigations for an ever-rising list of human rights violations as he consolidates power in the country. And while he's done a lot of work to prosecute and jail journalists, there's one outspoken Turkish person Erdoğan hasn't been able to silence: Enes Kanter.

The complex New York Knicks center has been speaking out against Erdoğan for a while now, while also supporting Muslim cleric Gethullah Gülen, who Erdoğan suspects of orchestrating the failed coup to oust him in 2016 (Gülen denies involvement).

And now things have escalated to the point where, according to a translation of Istanbul's pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah by Kurdistan 24, Turkey has issued a warrant for Kanter's arrest and demanded he be extradited for "being a member of a terrorist organization."

Kanter saw the reports and tweeted out his indignation about the arrest warrant:

This is not the first time Kanter has come across state action from his birth country. In May of 2017, Kanter was detained at an airport in Romania when the Turkish embassy unexpectedly canceled his passport, and shortly afterward the Turkish government issued it's initial arrest warrant, also for his alleged membership in a terrorist organization.

Earlier this month, Kanter decided he would not be traveling with the team to London for tomorrow's game against the Washington Wizards because he felt there was a chance he could get killed by Erdoğan's people.

In addition to the two outstanding warrants, Kanter also faces jail time after a prosecutor in Turkey ruled that he was guilty of using Twitter to "defame and deride" Erdogan and should be jailed up to four years. Kanter has a green card in the US, which allows him to live in the country on a permanent basis.

This article originally appeared on VICE Sports US.