Remember over the summer, when the Turkish government revoked the passport of New York Knicks big man Enes Kanter? It was because Kanter is a follower of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who has fundamentally dictatorial powers now, and where human rights abuses are rampant — blames Gulen for masterminding a failed 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, and used that as an excuse for a crackdown and consolidation of power.
One small part of that crackdown — Knicks games are not shown in Turkey because Kanter is on the team. That according to Kanter (who played last season in Oklahoma City), who spoke to Ian Begley of ESPN about it Saturday.
Enes Kanter says that there are no Knicks games shown on Turkish television, which he says is in response to his vocal public stance in opposition to Turkish President Recep Tayyip. “Last year they were showing all 29 games in Turkey but no (Oklahoma City Thunder) games because of all the politics, they were going crazy. So now, they are showing every other game (but) no Knicks,” Kanter said Friday. “Just because the president is crazy. It’s that crazy…. Last year, I saw all those people on social media they were saying we want to watch (Russell Westbrook) because they can’t watch because of me. Now, they want to watch Kristaps (Porzingis), all the other guys, they cannot watch just because of me.”
Kanter has said he wants to become an official United States citizen. Kanter is not going to stop speaking out on Turkish politics, even though it has led to the arrest of his father before.
Kanter is averaging 14.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game as the Knicks starting center, shooting 63.6 percent. He’s always been a quality offensive player but has shown little interest in the defensive end of the floor, and that made him a playoff liability in OKC. For the Knicks, he has been their best option at the five (outside of Kristaps Porzingis) and seems to have found a home.
Knicks fans love him… except for the children who went trick-or-treating at his house on Halloween.