Out of all the storylines we got out of an eventful past summer in the NBA, the ongoing feud between Enes Kanter and his home country of Turkey may be the most bizarre. The fiasco all began when Kanter wasn’t permitted to board a flight in a Romanian airport due to his political views. Kanter is adamantly against the current regime in Turkey, something that doesn’t sit well with his homeland’s government.
Since that first incident, we’ve seen various twists and turns in this saga all culminating to this moment. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Turkish prosecutors want Kanter locked away for multiple years:
Turkey’s state-run news agency says prosecutors are seeking more than four years in prison for NBA player Enes Kanter on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Anadolu Agency says an indictment prepared by the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office accuses the New York Knicks player of insulting the president in a series of tweets he posted in May and June 2016.
Enes Kanter, who is currently making his livelihood in the United States as the starting center for the New York Knicks, apparently has bigger fish to fry. Though going to prison may seem like a big deal, Kanter isn’t concerned about it, stating that the only thing on his mind is helping his club make a postseason push:
“You guys were seeing today that I was just out there having fun, playing basketball and practicing with my teammates,” Kanter said after practice. “…. You guys are going to say, ‘How do you get used to like prison, this and that, whatever? I think it’s just nothing to me, man, because I’m in America. I’m good. My focus right now is just going out there, playing basketball, having fun with my teammates and just winning, and just thinking about playoffs. I don’t really think about all this stuff, whatever. They can do whatever they want to do.”
Enes Kanter does have a point in that there’s not much Turkey can do with him in the United States, though he could be tried in absentia. It’s clear Kanter isn’t losing any sleep over the matter but it’s certainly a situation worth monitoring as it has been in recent months.
On the court, Kanter is doing a stellar job as the man in the middle for New York, averaging a near double-double with 13.2 points per game to go along with 9.8 boards.