By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Enes Kanter and Hedo Turkoglu were interviewed separately by Jeremy Shaap for E:60. The Portland Trail Blazers center again compared Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a dictator and the former NBA player, now a chief adviser to Erdogan, accused Kanter of “openly supporting a terrorist leader”.
Turkoglu only mentioned Kanter’s name once, but said during his interview that aired on Sunday that his former teammate has abandoned his homeland to support Fethullah Gulen, an U.S.-based Turkish cleric who has been living in exile from Turkey since 1999. The Turkish government has accused Gulen of masterminding the failed military coup of 2016.
“I don’t send messages to terrorist organization supporters. All I have to say to all my American fellows, be careful” he said. “My government is just exposing the people who have a relationship with Fethullah Gulen’s organization” he responded when asked about jailings following the failed coup. “Obviously, it’s our job sometimes to speak loudly and clearly inform everybody about the real situation” he added.
On his side, Kanter told Shaap: “When I talk, or when I tweet something, or when I say anything about the government, it goes everywhere, all over the world, and they hate it. And they know there is no way they can buy me”. The 26-year-old Blazers center also reiterated that if he returned to Turkey, he’d be killed. His Turkish passport was revoked in May 2017.
“I mean, Turkey is my country. You know, it’s my flag. That is where we’re raised. My family was born there. So that’s why, like, it’s tough to see that your country doesn’t want you. People say, ‘Where are you from?’ What should I say? ‘Turkey?’ No. They don’t even want me there” Kanter added, who also said he can’t remember when he last spoke with his parents.