Thunder forward Enes Kanter is spending at least a portion of his 25th birthday detained in a Romanian airport on Saturday. Kanter took to Twitter to announce the news, saying his passport was "canceled" by the Turkish government. He cited his political views as the reason for his detainment.
"We are in Romania, and they said they canceled my passport by the Turkish Embassy," Kanter said in a video he posted to his timeline. "They’ve been holding us here for hours [with] these two police. The reason behind it, of course, is my political views. The guy who did it is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey."
Kanter has been an outspoken vocal critic of Erdogan, most notably speaking out against him after a 2016 bombing in the Turkish capitol of Ankara. The bombing was believed to be a terrorist attack as part of a failed military coup to overthrow Erdogan and killed 37 people while injuring more than 100 others. Kanter condemned what he deemed to be Erdogan’s attempts to block broadcast media and access to social media. He would later receive death threats via Twitter and has said his backing of Islamic leader Fethullah Gulen caused his family to disown him.
According to an ESPN report, Kanter reached Romania from Indonesia as part of his Enes Kanter Light Foundation tour. Erik Horne of The Oklahoman confirmed that the Thunder are working with NBA officials to gather information about the situation.
The Thunder is currently working with the NBA to gather more information on Enes Kanter's detainment.— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) May 20, 2017
Erdogan made news earlier this week when he was seen watching his bodyguards fight protestors on the way to Erdogan’s visit with President Donald Trump. In his Twitter post, Kanter called Erdogan "the Hitler of our century."
"I’ll keep you posted, guys," Kanter added. "Just pray for us, and I’ll tell you guys what’s going on."