Former NBA participant Hedo Turkoglu, now a chief adviser to the president of Turkey, says feedback by Enes Kanter about the nation are nothing greater than an ongoing “political smear marketing campaign” by the New York Knicks middle.

Kanter earlier this week mentioned he wouldn’t journey with the Knicks to London for a recreation against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 17 as a result of he fears for his life as a result of of his ongoing conflict with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

  • Enes Kanter won’t journey to London for the Knicks’ Jan. 17 recreation against the Wizards, saying he fears for his life due to his ongoing conflict with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A Knicks workforce official mentioned Kanter won’t journey as a result of of a visa difficulty, however Kanter, who has been an outspoken critic of the Turkish authorities and Erdogan, mentioned he didn’t really feel secure making the journey as a result of “there’s an opportunity that I can get killed on the market.”

“We all know that [Kanter] has not been ready to journey to many nations due to visa points since 2017,” Turkoglu mentioned in a press release posted to Twitter on Monday. “In different phrases, Kanter cannot enter the UK not as a result of of fears for all times as he claims however due to passport and visa points. This being the long-known fact, he’s attempting to get the limelight with irrational justifications and political remarks.

“Such remarks represent one other instance of the political smear marketing campaign Kanter has been conducting against Turkey in addition to his efforts to attribute significance to himself by masking up the contradictions in his sports activities profession. … It’s apparent that this particular person’s remarks are irrational and deform the reality.”

Kanter reportedly was indicted by the Istanbul Cyber Crimes Investigation Bureau final 12 months as a result of of “hurtful and humiliating” feedback made about Turkoglu, the president of the Turkish Basketball Federation, on social media.

In accordance to a report by The New York Instances, Erdogan has jailed, fired or suspended tens of hundreds of individuals accused of plotting a failed coup. In December 2017, Turkey’s state-run information company, Anadolu Company, reported that prosecutors had been looking for greater than 4 years in jail for Kanter on costs of insulting Erdogan in a collection of tweets he posted in 2016.

Requested if he actually believes that he could possibly be killed if he travels to London, Kanter mentioned, “Oh yeah, straightforward. They have rather a lot of spies there. I can get killed very straightforward. That will probably be a really ugly state of affairs.”

Kanter has mentioned he believes the Turkish authorities has focused his father up to now as a result of of the participant’s important stance against the nation’s authorities. In 2017, Kanter’s Turkish passport was canceled and he was held at a Romanian airport upon touchdown in Bucharest.

In 2016, Kanter spoke out against Erdogan after a bombing in Ankara, Turkey’s capital metropolis. Kanter, who has obtained dying threats, helps Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Turkish cleric who has been exiled from Turkey and is a bitter rival of Erdogan’s. The Turkish authorities has accused Gulen of masterminding a failed army coup in 2016. Gulen has denied the allegation.

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.

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