The Long Arm of Turkey's Erdogan

Sports and politics have always been uncomfortable bed-fellows, despite the best efforts to keep sports as a unifying nonpartisan activity. From Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics to the American hockey team from the 1980 Miracle on Ice, sports heroes have had a way of rankling authoritarians. And so it is for Enes Kanter, a Turkish-born NBA star currently playing for the Portland Trailblazers, following the failed Turkish coup in 2016. Kanter has been made a wanted man for his criticism of Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan. He was not able to travel with his New York Knicks teammates back in January to play the Washington Wizards in London for fear of being kidnapped or killed. And in December 2017 he was sentenced to four years in prison in absentia. Enes Kanter’s father was also fired from his university position and is now serving a fifteen-year sentence in prison, some say as backlash for his son’s criticism of the government.   A devout Muslim,...(Read Full Article)
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