NBA’s Kanter headed to Canada for first game abroad in a year

Boston Celtics basketball player Enes Kanter, who is viewed as a fugitive by his home country of Turkey for his membership of an outlawed religious movement, is headed to Canada for his first match outside of the United States for more than a year.

Kanter announced that he would play his first game as a Celtic outside the United States against the Toronto Raptors on Christmas Day in an article for Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail.

"I want to thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, U.S. and Canadian law enforcement, U.S. Senator Ed Markey, the Celtics, the NBA and my managers for working diligently to make my Christmas game against the Raptors possible and ensuring my safety there,’’ Kanter wrote.

Turkish prosecutors in January issued an international warrant for the arrest of the 27-year-old critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Kanter is accused of membership in the Gülen movement, which Ankara says orchestrated the July 2016 coup attempt in which some 250 people were killed.

Kanter does not deny membership of the Gülen movement, but denies any involvement in the failed coup.

Kanter has limited his international travel for fear of being arrested and did not travel with his previous team, the New York Knicks, to London in January due to fears he could be killed.