WSJ- Turkey said it would seek the extradition of a prominent NBA player, part of a global hunt President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched to capture supporters of a Pennsylvania-based cleric he accuses of fomenting the 2016 coup that nearly swept him from power.
Prosecutors in Istanbul allege that Enes Kanter, a Turkish center for the New York Knicks, belongs to the movement of cleric Fethullah Gulen, which Turkey regards as a terrorist organization, and have sought government help to publicize an arrest warrant for Mr. Kanter through Interpol, a Turkish official said Tuesday. The 26-year-old Mr. Kanter, who has been playing in the NBA since 2011, calls himself a “servant” of Mr. Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania. But the basketball player denies the organization of Mr. Gulen has had any involvement in terrorism-related activity. Mr. Gulen has denied playing any role in the failed coup.
Jesus Christ this story keeps getting crazier and crazier. Once you start throwing the T word around and shit like Interpol gets involved, everything has gone off the rails. To be honest, I’m not even really sure what Interpol does. I feel like the only time you hear about Interpol is in James Bond movies or while playing Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego. But Interpol must be heavy hitters if their name is being mentioned alongside the greatest spy and greatest criminal the world has ever seen.
Now you would think having stories where your native government is calling you a terrorist with headlines that are just as likely to end up on CNN as they are on ESPN would usually take a heavy toll on someone. But Enes Kanter is doing what he usually does, which means he is tweeting through it.
I’m not a world politics guy or anything even close, but I can’t imagine Kanter getting shipped out to Turkey. Would it help the Knicks cap situation if the rest of Kanter’s $18 million just disappeared from the books because he was in Turkish jail for terrorism charges that may be bogus? It wouldn’t hurt I suppose, even though I’m not sure if there is a cap penalty for having a political prisoner on the roster. But there are bigger, scarier things at stake here. The name Recep Tayyip Erdogan sounds like the name of an Imperial general from the extended Star Wars universe that sends a shiver down my spine just reading it and I’m on the record being scared of any country with a crescent moon on their flag. But I don’t think this story will go away as long as Erdogan is in power or Kanter stops tweeting, both of which don’t seem to be ending anytime soon.