The Turkish government has issued an arrest warrant for Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter, accusing him of being a member of a “terror group,” according to the pro-government Turkish newspaper The Daily Sabah.
Kanter is a vocal supporter of Fethullah Gulen and the “Gulen Movement.” After a military coup attempt in 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan placed blame for the attempt on Gulen and his supporters.
Gulen, a Muslim spiritual leader, has spent the past 15 years in exile in Pennsylvania. Gulen has denied claims of involvement with the coup.
Kanter appeared to mock the arrest warrant in his native Turkish as part of a retweet of the Daily Sabah’s report.
The warrant “refers to Kanter’s alleged use of an encrypted messaging application called Bylock, Sabah said, which Turkey claims was especially created for Gulen supporters.”
Thunder C Enes Kanter said Monday that he wants to become an American citizen and that he has received numerous death threats, two days after he was detained in a Romanian airport because his Turkish passport had been canceled.
In Turkey, Kanter’s Twitter account is blocked. In the Daily Sabah last summer, Kanter’s father, Mehmet, announced the family was disowning him. Kanter said he hasn’t spoken with his family in almost two years.
Kanter was detained last week in Romania after the Turkish government revoked his passport. In a video about it, Kanter said Erdogan is the “Hitler of this century.”
Kanter returned to the United States, via London, on Monday using his green card. Kanter, who claims he routinely gets death threats, said in interviews following the incident that his manager woke him up in the middle of the night in Indonesia a few days before and was told the Indonesian “secret service and army” were looking for him because he is a “dangerous man.”
Kanter told reporters he plans on becoming a U.S. citizen.
“Right now I am country-less,” Kanter said at the National Basketball Players Association headquarters in Manhattan. “I am open to adoption definitely. I am going to try to become an American citizen.”