Enes Kanter, the NBA star whose home country, Turkey, revoked his passport er the weekend, lashed out at President Tayyip Erdogan at a news meeting on Monday. Calling him “the Hitler of our century” and portraying himself as the casualty of political retaliation.
Kanter, an outspoken Erdogan critic who plays for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, come back to the United States on Sunday after being kept in Romania when authorities learned his passport had been revoked.
The 6-foot-11-inch center was going on a charity and promotional tour.
” The reason behind it was, whoever is going to try to go against the president, he’s going to try to shut him down.” Kanter said at the press conference in New York.
The Turkish embassy in Washington D.C. did not respond to a demand for a comment.
Kanter said receives daily death threats, generally online, including two on Monday.
He contends that Turkey revoked his travel document in retaliation for his long-lasting backing of Fethullah Gulen. A dissident cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.
Kanter said a year ago he had severed ties with his family and promised loyalty to Gulen after Turkish media distributed a letter marked by Kanter’s dad, disowning him.
In an April referendum, Turks barely supported constitutional changes. Making an executive presidency that gave new power to Erdogan, including control over the Islamist AKP Party.
It comes in the midst of mounting foreign policy difficulties and pressures with NATO partners.
Rebel fighters in warplanes and tanks attempted to seize control in Turkey. As a result, 240 individuals were executed. Gulen has denied contribution.
At the news briefing, Kanter blamed the Turkish president for suppressing resistance at any cost, including homicide and assault.
“Erdogan, he’s a terrible man, he’s the Hitler of our century. I hope the world is going to do something about it”. Kanter said.
After arriving from via London from Romania, Kanter said his worst fear was to be sent to Turkey.
“It was, of course, scary. If they sent me back to Turkey, probably you guys wouldn’t hear a word from me the second day.” Kanter said.
Kanter, who holds a U.S. green card, said he hoped to become an American national since he is at present “nationless.”
Kanter said he received a great deal of support online. Support from fans and individual messages from teammates wishing him well after the occurrence in Romania.
“I’m not even from America, and I see all these people and I get all this support. I feel like this is my home now,” Kanter said.