2:30 pm: Enes Kanter has landed in London and he and his representatives are now figuring out the next steps, reports Royce Young of ESPN (link via Twitter). Young also reports that NBA sources say that the league helped facilitate getting Kanter to London.
1:24 pm: Romanian border police say that Enes Kanter has been released from custody and permitted to continue his travels, according to Benjamin Hoffman of The New York Times. The official said that Kanter is now on a plane headed for London. Kanter himself has yet to confirm that he has been released.
Kanter, who has been an outspoken critic of Turkey’s regime, claimed that the decision to void his passport was politically motivated.
“The reason behind it is just, of course, my political views,” Kanter said in the video. “And the guy who did it is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey.”
Kanter is currently in the midst of the Enes Kanter Light Foundation tour, which, in addition to Romania, included a visit to Indonesia. Kanter’s website states that the foundation’s objective is to create awareness and provide help to children “education, poverty alleviation and social harmony.” That positive message is the antithesis of Kanter’s view of president Erdogan.
“He’s attacked people in Washington. He’s a bad, bad man,” Kanter added. “He is a dictator, and he’s the Hitler of our century.”
Kanter dealt with issues stemming from his political views last year, when his family severed ties with him. Kanter’s father, Mehment, published a letter through Turkish media disowning his son.
“With a feeling of shame I apologize to our president and the Turkish people for having such a son,” the letter said (via Reuters).
In his own letter published on Twitter, Kanter addressed his family’s decision; a large part of their decisions stemmed from Kanter’s support of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic leader and the face of the “Gulen Movement.”
“Today I lost my mother, father, brothers and sisters, my family and all my relatives,” Kanter wrote in the letter, which was translated to English. “My own father asked me to change my surname. My mother, who has given me life, disowned me. My brothers and sisters, with which we have grown together, ignore me.”
According to ESPN, the Thunder are going through the proper channels to resolve the situation. Kanter posted totals of 14.3 PPG and 6.7 APG in 72 games for Oklahoma City last season.