If you aren’t aware Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter is from Turkey. And he has a shaky relationship with his home country. Well, shoot. Shaky isn’t the right word. He has a horrendous relationship with his country and The Turkish government wants to have him arrested for his criticism over The President Of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish TV won’t air Enes Kanter’s NBA playoff games with the Trail Blazers. He's a vocal opponent of Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Kanter says the government is ‘afraid’ of him. From @jacobbogage https://t.co/DiKzM3JcbR
— Alan Sipress (@AlanSipress) May 14, 2019
Well according to ESPN, Blazer’s games are no longer welcomed in Turkey:
(ESPN) – Turkish broadcaster S Sport will not televise the Western Conference finals between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazersbecause of criticism of its government by Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter, a native of Turkey.
“I can say clearly that we will not be broadcasting the Warriors-Blazers series,” S Sport commentator Omer Sarac told Reuters. “Furthermore, if Portland makes it to the finals, (that) will not be broadcast either … This situation is not about us, but it is what it is.”
Kanter has been estranged from his homeland for at least two years and is a longtime critic of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kanter has called himself an ally of U.S-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is an Erdogan enemy and was accused of being part of a failed coup attempt in 2016.
Earlier this month, the NBA terminated a local vendor who ran the NBA’s Turkish-centric Twitter account for failing to mention Kanter’s efforts in Portland’s Game 2 win over Denver in the Western Conference semifinals.
After that episode, NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum said, “Fans in Turkey can watch all playoff games featuring Enes Kanter and the Portland Trail Blazers on NBA League Pass and NBA TV International.”
Look. This makes perfect sense. Have you seen President Erdogan, he seems like the type of guy that would hold a grudge.
Here’s something that is absolutely insane however, due to this situation, Enes Kanter cannot travel internationally at all. Right now Portland and Toronto are both in the conference finals. Both are underdogs but what would happen if they met in the finals? He’s protected by the USA from being arrested by Turkish officials or by Interpol. Pretty crazy situation. However today Enes did tweet out a letter that US Senator Rod Wyden wrote to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about Kanter and if the two teams did make the NBA finals. Man what a crazy story.
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) May 14, 2019
I guess for me personally as kid I came to the United States from Turkey’s neighboring country of Syria. I know how in the United States it almost sounds unbelievable that a guy could miss the NBA Finals due to political tensions and criticism of a president. But, this is normal news to me. But just wanted to shed light on how crazy of a story this is becoming for Kanter. So I guess you won’t be able to watch the game in Turkey (unless you have internet and you know how to stream games, so I guess everyone will be watching). By the way Turkish friends, Reddit r/NBAstreams is always reliable.