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NBA star placed on Turkey's 'terrorist wanted list', has a bounty on his head

Jayden Collins

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NBA star placed on Turkey's 'terrorist wanted list', has a bounty on his head

Outspoken NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom has been declared one of the most wanted terrorists in Turkey.

Kanter has been one of the starkest critics of human rights violations worldwide which has led to the Turkish government issuing an AU$758,000 (US$530k, £432k) bounty on his head.

The Turkish Minute reports that the nation’s Interior Ministry issues a ‘Terrorist Wanted List’, which included the player.

They accused the 30-year-old of being a member of a terrorist organisation.

TMZ reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who Freedom has been critical of in the past, as put up an award of 10 million Turkish liras (A$758k, US$530k, £432k) for anyone who incarcerates the player.

Enes told the Turkish Minute: “I’m not the only one. There are so many innocent journalists, academics, athletes, activists and educators on this list. Now their lives are in danger because of the Turkish government.”

Freedom has reportedly called Erdogan a ‘dictator’ and the ‘Hitler of our century’ in the past.

Freedom was aware that the Turkish government were after him, however, says the bounty means he could be in danger anywhere in the world.

He told the New York Post: “That makes it so dangerous.

“Before the bounty, Turkish intelligence were after the people on the list, but now everyone is after them because they want the money.”

The former Boston Celtic player claimed the Turkish government were afraid of him because of his platform.

He continued: “Because of my platform, whenever I say something, it goes everywhere, and the Turkish government hates that.

"They’re really sick of it, and they said, ‘Enough is enough,’ and doing whatever they can to shut me up."

Freedom was raised in Turkey before he moved to the United States.

He has been a bit of a journeyman in the NBA having played for the likes of Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks, and the Celtics.

He now lives in Washington where he says he is in constant contact with the FBI and law enforcement due to the danger he faces from the Turkish government.

However, he says others on the list may not be as protected.

He added: “I’m speaking out because I am not the only one on that list.

There are so many journalists, so many activists, and so many athletes, but they aren’t as well-known as me. They are way easier targets — and they’re alone out there.”

SPORTbible reached out to media representatives of the Turkish government for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Markus Wissmann / Alamy. Greek photonews / Alamy.

Topics: NBA, US Sports, Turkey

Jayden Collins
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