Oklahoma City’s Enes Kanter has long been an opponent of current Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, being outspoken about his dislike for his country’s leader for years. Kanter believes those comments are at the root of his problems with the Turkish national basketball team and why he was left off the team’s 2015 Eurobasket roster (the coach denied this at the time, although the country did not have better power forwards available and did not qualify for the Olympics out of the tournament).
In the wake of the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey, Kanter said he received a series of death threats, and he posted 24 of them (they are in Turkish):
In another tweet in Turkish, Kanter — a devout Muslim — said: “Death threats continue to fall. Prayer does not stand still.”
In the wake of the coup, Erdogan has tightened his grip on power, including firing 15,000 people who could be opponents from civil service jobs, and arresting hundreds in his eyes believed to be tied to the coup, and has discussed re-instituting the death penalty in the country. Kanter has criticized the moves online, making allusions to Hitler’s 1930s power grab in Germany.
Kanter has never been afraid to speak his mind — on Turkish politics, on former teammates, on just about anything. That’s not going to change now.