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May 03 2019

NBA fires Turkish social media vendor over Enes Kanter censorship – Washington Post

The NBA is terminating the contract with a social media vendor after the official Turkish account deliberately avoided mentioning Enes Kanter, a Turkish basketball star, who is an outspoken critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Washington Post said on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Portland Trail Blazers centre played a key role in helping his team in the NBA's Western Conference semi-finals. But the NBA’s Turkish social media account left Kanter off its posts.

"Instead, the account copied and translated the texts and images from a tweet from the NBA’s main account, but removed any reference to Kanter, who led the team in scoring in Game 2," Washington Post said.

Kanter is a member of the Gülen movement, a secretive Islamist sect that the Turkish government blames for a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

“Whoever runs the official account, NBA Turkey, lives in Turkey. Look how sad this is, they can’t even put my name out there because they’re scared,” the Washington Post quoted Kanter as saying.

The NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum said the relationship with the local vendor managing the Turkish language account was to be terminated.

Turkey has arrested tens of thousands of alleged followers of the Gülen movement on terrorism charges and closed dozens of media outlets.

Turkey cancelled Kanter's passport in 2017 and has issued a warrant for his arrest on terrorism charges.