Former NBA middle Enes Kanter Freedom has had a bounty put out on him by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authorities value as much as 10 million Turkish lira, or about $500,000, for info resulting in his seize.
Freedom is on the nation’s 2023 most-wanted terrorists checklist as he has been famously outspoken relating to Turkey’s human rights abuses by Erdogan’s authorities. He informed the New York Post that he came upon concerning the bounty per week in the past.
“Before the bounty, Turkish intelligence were after the people on the list, but now everyone is after them because they want the money,” Freedom informed the Post.
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On prime of that, Freedom says he’s trying into suing the NBA, which he says has blackballed him following his protests towards China.
“I’m waiting for the right time,” he stated.
Freedom hasn’t held again his ideas on Erdogan all through his NBA profession, calling him a “dictator,” and even going as far to say he’s the “Hitler of our century.”
Freedom is on the terrorist checklist together with actual terrorists, others which have spoken out about Erdogan and his authorities, and a number of journalists. Just this previous yr, the variety of journalists which have been put in jail doubled.
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“Because of my platform, whenever I say something, it goes everywhere, and the Turkish government hates that,” Freedom informed the Post. “They’re really sick of it, and they said, ‘Enough is enough,’ and doing whatever they can to shut me up.”
Freedom, 30, most lately performed 35 video games with the Boston Celtics final season on their run to the NBA Finals, the place they misplaced to the Golden State Warriors. But Kanter isn’t on a crew now, and he suspects it’s because of his criticism of President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party.
The NBA has a robust relationship with China, the place basketball is an especially common sport. Freedom additionally stated issues about Nike because of their manufacturing offers with China, and the sports activities model has giant ties with the league as nicely.
Freedom has worn sneakers with messages that included “No Beijing 2022,” “Free Tibet” and extra. He stated stress from the NBA was placed on him to take them off.
Freedom was traded from the Celtics to the Houston Rockets, however they dropped him rapidly after the transaction.
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“The NBA is never going to admit it, but I believe I’m being blackballed,” he informed the Post. “I’ve had many conversations, and everyone is saying the same thing: ‘Your career has ended because of your China comments.’”
“They are a 100% American-made organization, but they are being controlled and run by the biggest dictatorship in the world, China,” he continued. “How can China fire an American citizen from an American organization? That is unacceptable.”
The Swiss-born, Turkish-raised participant turned an American citizen in 2021, and he added Freedom to his title. He at the moment lives in Washington, D.C., the place he’s in “constant contact” with native authorities and the FBI on account of being on Erdogan’s checklist.
“I’m being protected 24/7,” Freedom stated.
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“I’m speaking out because I am not the only one on that list. There are so many journalists, so many activists, and so many athletes, but they aren’t as well-known as me. They are way easier targets — and they’re alone out there.”