Europe

Enes Kanter Freedom: Turkish NBA player changes name to celebrate becoming a US citizen

NBA player Enes Kanter is changing his name to “Enes Kanter Freedom” to celebrate becoming a United States citizen.

The Boston Celtics’ centre will attend his citizenship oath ceremony on Monday afternoon, according to his manager Hank Fetic.

Kanter is a native of Turkey but had his passport revoked by Ankara in 2017. The 29-year-old is an outspoken critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government

In recent weeks, Kanter has used social media to voice support for Tibetan independence and Uyghur Muslims in China.

This season, he has worn shoes decorated to say “Free Tibet” and has called for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

China has denied NGO allegations that it has held one million Ughuyr Muslims in forced labour camps.

Kanter’s father Mehmet was accused of belonging to the Gülen movement, which is considered by Ankara as a terrorist.

Despite the acquittal, Enes Kanter says he has avoided contact with family members in Turkey for years. The basketball player has also skipped NBA games in London for fear of reprisals from Turkey.

“It’s very sad because I want to play basketball and I want to be known as a basketball player,” Kanter told Euronews in 2019.


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