Wall Street Journal attracts protests for publishing Gülenist Basketball star’s article

The Wall Street Journal attracted protesters outside its New York office on Thursday after they gave a platform to Enes Kanter, an NBA basketball star with links to the movement of Fethullah Gülen, who Turkey blames for the failed 2016 coup attempt, according to Anadolu Agency.

The WSJ article by Kanter, called ‘Turkish Democracy Isn’t a Lost Cause’, said Turkey had become an autocracy, and supported the use of economic sanctions by the U.S.. State-run Turkish news agency Anadolu said the article “insults Turkish democracy and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan”.

"We are here today to condemn The Wall Street Journal for giving an opportunity to Enes Kanter who spoke against Turkey and its democracy," said Halil Mutlu, the co-chair of the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC). In December, TASC’s Twitter account was reportedly suspended for continually harassing Kanter.

"Enes Kanter has gone beyond being a supporter of a terror leader and has now become a tin soldier. He has been exploiting the sports community as a platform to this end. He has added Wall Street, too," Mutlu said.

The Gülen movement was closely aligned with the Justice and Development Party of President Erdoğan until a falling out in 2013 saw Gülenist police and prosecutors attempt to investigate corruption by Erdoğan and his allies. Although many Gülenists in the army took part in the 2016 coup attempt, Gülen himself denied knowledge of the coup, and  being its organiser.

According to Yahoo News, Halil Mutlu of the TASC is also a cousin of President Erdoğan. “Mutlu was present at a 2017 clash between Erdogan’s bodyguards and pro-Kurdish protesters in Washington, D.C. A video of the incident shows Mutlu leading a pro-Turkish government chant from the sidelines,” Yahoo reported.