Jan 18 2019

NBA takes Enes Kanter's assassination fears seriously - Commissioner

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday said he takes New York Knicks star Enes Kanter's assassination fears seriously, news site i24 reported.

“I will say there's nothing more important to me, as the commissioner of the league, the safety and security of our players, and so we take the threats very seriously that he has received, (even if) it's just people on social media."

“Again, I support Enes, a player in this league, and I support the platform that our players have to speak out on issues that are important to them,” Silver stressed.

Kanter made headlines in early January when he skipped a New York Knicks trip to Britain as he said he feared being murdered by Turkish spies.

The 26-year-old New York Knicks centre, an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is accused of membership of the Gülen movement, which Ankara designates as a terrorist organisation.

Kanter said on Twitter that the Turkish government could not present “any single piece of evidence of my wrongdoing” and that he doesn't “even have a parking ticket in the U.S.”

The NBA star player was detained last year at an airport in Romania after being told his Turkish passport had been cancelled but was permitted to leave hours later.

Kanter also went on a popular CNN news show on Thursday and said he was with Fethullah Gulen on the coup night of July 15, 2016. Gulen is the  leader of the Gulen Movement which the Turkish government accuses to be mastermind behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

On Jan. 15, a Turkish prosecutor applied for an Interpol red notice for the arrest of Kanter for links to Gülen movement. He admits being a supporter of Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based Islamic preacher leading the group, but denies any involvement to the failed coup.