NBA player says he cannot go London because Turkish spies might murder him
Turkish basketball player Enes Kanter will not travel with the New York Knicks to London this month for a game against the Washington Wizards, because he is afraid that Ankara's spies might try to murder him, USA Today reported on Saturday.
Playing in the media glare of New York, Kanter is the most-high profile player from his country in the National Basketball Association.
Turkey last year issued an arrest warrant for Kanter and revoked his passport over links to Gulen movement, a religious group Turkey accuses of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016
"Sadly I'm not going because of that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president," Kanter told reporters. "There’s a chance that I can get killed out there,” he said
Kanter said he believed Turkey had lots of spies in London. "I think I can get killed there easy. That will be a very ugly situation,” he said.
Gulen movement denies any role in the coup attempt.
Kanter has never hidden his ties to Gulen movement and cut relations with his family in the aftermath of the coup attempt.
Kanter was detained for hours at a Romanian airport the last time he traveled overseas.
Turkish government has launched a massive crackdown against the devotees of the U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen both in Turkey and abroad, following the failed coup attempt.
Many people have been tracked by the Turkish intelligence in other countries and have been brought back to Turkey over their links to the religious group.