Enes Kanter Forced To Cancel Basketball Camp After Threats From Turkey

Enes Kanter Forced To Cancel Basketball Camp After Threats From Turkey

"The Turkish consulate actually came to the mosque and threatened the leaders and said 'if you do a basketball camp with Enes Kanter, then you guys are not allowed to get into Turkey anymore, '" Kanter said.

The Turkish government cast a broadside at NBA player Enes Kanter on Thursday, calling the Boston Celtics center a "liar" and a member of a "cult" and terrorist organization after he accused the Turkish Consulate in NY of frightening a mosque out of hosting a free youth basketball camp. Kanter said the consulate "threatened" the Islamic Center and even "sent out their goons".

Kanter, who is a practicing Muslim, was set to hold a camp at Islamic Center of Long Island over the weekend but the venue postponed the event, a move that Kanter believes was the result of bullying from the Turkish Consulate.

"The Turkish consulate in [New York City] threatened the mosque, sent out their goons and encouraged people in Turkey to call the mosque and leave threatening messages", Kanter wrote in a statement. "Instead bowing down before this dictator and his regime, the mosque chose to cancel something positive for the kids", he wrote.

"This would be my 34th FREE camp this summer in over 25 states".

Rep. Peter King says he was "very disappointed" that the Islamic Center backed down from the Turkish government.

Alper Aktas, the Turkish consul general in NY, categorically denied Kanter's account. According to Aktas, he simply raised the question to mosque officials of whether Kanter was someone they wanted to present as a role model.

Kanter, 27, has been charged in Turkey as a member of a "criminal terrorist" group and Turkish prosecutors have sought an global warrant for Kanter's arrest and return to face those charges in Turkey, which he says comes as a result of his peaceful protests of the country's current leadership. However, Kanter ridiculed their explanation on Twitter and said he would look for a new location for his camp.

According to the New York Daily News, Kanter will now host a camp at the Island Garden in West Hempstead after some assistance from Long Island congresswoman Kathleen Rice.

As previously noted, Kanter is a Muslim, and he follows the teachings of Fethullah Gülen, who is a Turkish cleric that preaches a moderate form of Sunni Islam.

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