Enes Kanter has been in the NBA for nine years and is likely to earn his US citizenship within this year, settling in the country permanently. Unfortunately, the Turkish center can’t settle his head at night due to fear, invoked by the constant death threats that he continues to receive from his homeland.
Three years ago, Enes Kanter had worded some criticism towards the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which resulted in him getting detained at an airport in Romania and the Turkish embassy canceling his passport.
Following this incident, Kanter addressed Erdoğan as the “Hitler of our century”. In 2019, the Portland Trail Blazers star was tagged as a member of a terrorist organization and Turkey had an international arrest warrant known as “Red Notice”.
Enes Kanter has a panic button in his room, but nothing to stop the constant death threats
Obviously, all these troubling incidents hampered Enes Kanter’s NBA career and he decided to settle down in the US permanently and even sought help from the FBI, who installed a panic button in his bedroom.
“Actually, two years ago, I sat down with the FBI and we had a conversation. They said whenever you need us, please don’t hesitate to call us. We’ll be there and you’ll be fine,” Kanter revealed to NBC Sports.
“They come to my room, they set up this thing, and they give me a button. If I feel ever uncomfortable or ever like I worry about anything, they always tell me push that button and we’ll be there in 2 or 3 minutes.”
On top of that, the player has even skipped NBA matches outside US soil because its where he feels the safest. Nevertheless, Kanter still continues to receive death threats from Turkey.
“The threats are real and I’m still getting them every week. But I think America is doing an amazing job at protecting me…” added the 28-year-old.
Kantar’s father Mehmet, who is a doctor, was sentenced to prison for 15 years in 2018 after Turkey alleged his allegiance to Fethullah Gülen and the FETO, which is tagged as a terrorist organization in the country, however, the charges were dropped and Mehmet was released in 2020.
A 2011 Utah Jazz draft pick, Kantar returned to Portland in November last year after spending the previous season with Boston Celtics, where he was traded from the Blazers in 2019.