Knicks Center Enes Kantor To Be Tried In Absentia For Upsetting Turkish President Recep Erdogan's Fickle Ego

from the scoring-in-the-twitter-post dept

In all of our coverage of the actions of the Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, quite a picture of the man, who now has a stranglehold on his country, has emerged. We can be sure of many things with all of this coverage. For instance, Erdogan has an ego the size of an oil rig, yet the intellectual armor of a flea. We also know that His Honor is perfectly happy to brutally wield the power of a sovereign nation for the petty benefit of his reputation. And, when all else fails, detractors and the journalists that cover him can be simply labled “terrorists” before being jailed, tortured, or otherwise harmed.

Still, for those of us in America, the dealings of a dictator can be beyond the horizon, both literally and figuratively. There are many places in the world ruled by goons, after all, and we have a proud tradition in America of simply not giving a shit if it doesn’t effect the homeland in some conceivable way. Well, in the case of Erdogan, there is at least a touch-point for his brutality in New York Knicks big-man Enes Kantor who, after having members of his family arrested for the crime of being related to him, is now facing a trial in his absence on charges of insulting Erdogan and, you guessed it, being a terrorist.

The Turkish government is seeking at least a four-year prison term for New York Knicks center Enes Kanter because of insulting remarks he made about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter in May and June 2016, according to the Associated Press. And, yes, this is the world we live in in 2017.

A Turkish judge issued an arrest warrant for Kanter in mid-May of this year, when an Istanbul-based prosecutor pointed to the 25-year-old’s social media account as evidence of his alleged “membership of an armed terrorist organization.” To which Kanter responded on Twitter: “You can’t catch me. Don’t waste your breath. I will come on my own will anyway, to spit on your ugly, hateful faces.”

Now, I will note that Kanter has not been shy about sharing his feelings about Erdogan. The NBA player has taken a shine to calling the Turkish President Recep “Hitler” and claiming that the recent coup attempt was a fiasco staged by the Turkish government purely to allow Erdogan to grab more power and to commit genocide on his rivals in the country. Whether either of those assertions are true, it’s easy to see why Kanter might hold these opinions, given how drastically Erdogan has personally impacted Kanter’s life for the worse.

Turkish officials arrested Kanter’s father in what the NBA player believes was a warning this past June, even though his family had publicly disowned him for his political views and Kanter said he “would sacrifice my mother, my father and whole family for Gulen’s sake.” This is how strongly he opposes a president who the United Nations accused of creating an “environment conducive to torture” and whose rise has resulted in what the New York Times called “an almost untrammeled grip on power.”

“Right now, even if I try to communicate with my parents, my mom or dad or brother or sister, [the government] will probably listen to their phones and as soon as they are in contact with me, they will put them in a jail — and the jails are not fun,” Kanter said at the time of his father’s arrest, via ESPN. “Right now, my family can’t even go out to eat. My brother told me that my dad went to the supermarket and they spit on his face.”

It’s somehow worth repeating that all of this was done for opinions Kanter had expressed on Twitter, while half a world away playing in the NBA. The end result of all of this is that Kanter can be said to be without a family, without a country, but yet is fully in possession of his freedom and political faculties. Most of the legal experts that have been asked to comment for these stories indicate that while it’s likely that Turkey has or will petition for the extradition of Kanter, it’s worth noting that President Trump has been relatively friendly with Erdogan, lavishing the dictator with praise as recently as this past Fall.

One would hope that the spotlight of the NBA and America’s tradition for free political speech and asylum for political refugees would equate to a full-throated rebuke of any extradition requests.

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Comments on “Knicks Center Enes Kantor To Be Tried In Absentia For Upsetting Turkish President Recep Erdogan's Fickle Ego”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'What's a few tortured detractors between friends?'

One would hope that the spotlight of the NBA and America’s tradition for free political speech and asylum for political refugees would equate to a full-throated rebuke of any extradition requests.

One would hope so anyway, but given Trump’s love of the guy(no need to guess why) I strongly suspect that he would consider it a favor and pressure the department that handles the request to not only accept it but fast track it.

America after all doesn’t protect ‘terrorists’, and if the man is truly innocent surely it will come out in the open and fair trial he would receive in Turkey.

Anonymous Coward says:

Fortunately Gollum gets really angry at basically everything from ex-lovers mentioning his tiny genitals to people talking about his heart condition. (which paradoxically he only has because he gets angry about people claiming he has a heart condition).

fortunately he’s kinda feeble and old at this point so either someone is going to shoot him in the face and try to take power or he’ll just keel over and die from a heart attack. (or the sheer power of so many turkish people praying for him to just die already).

Either that or someone will throw his wedding ring into a volcano and he’ll just explode into nothing.

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