Published: Sun, January 06, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Knicks' Kanter to skip London trip, fearing assassination

Knicks' Kanter to skip London trip, fearing assassination

Less than two weeks away from their game against the Washington Wizards in London, the New York Knicks have reportedly decided that Enes Kanter will not be making the flight with the team due to fear for the center's safety in Europe.

"It's pretty sad that all this stuff affects my career and basketball because I want to be out there and help my team win", he lamented.

The Knicks will meet the Washington Wizards on January 19 (NZ time) at London's O2 Arena as part of the NBA's annual trip overseas.

Kanter has been an outspoken critic of Erdogan and his government.

On Friday night, the third overall pick of the 2011 draft had 16 points and 15 rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench as the Knicks beat the Lakers 119-112 in Los Angeles.

Turkey revoked Kanter's passport in May 2017, and a Turkish court has declared him a fugitive for his support of US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating an attempted coup in July 2016 - an accusation Gulen denies.

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Kanter's Turkish passport was revoked in 2017, and an worldwide warrant for his arrest was issued by Turkey.

Kanter continued, saying, "It's pretty sad" that he can't travel with the Knicks and be there for his team. "There's a chance I can get killed out there".

Kanter said that in Turkey his family can't even go out to eat while his brother told him that their dad went to the supermarket and they spit on his face. "I think I can get killed there easy".

The basketball star's father, former professor Mehmet Kanter, was indicted in Turkey a year ago and charged with "membership in a terror group", AP reported, although he had publicly disavowed his son's beliefs. "It would be a very ugly situation".

Enes Kanter #00 of the New York Knicks plays the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on January 1 in Denver, Colorado.

"But that's exactly why I speak out".

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