In a statement released Wednesday night, Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter claims that his very public criticism of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his regime has cost him one of his summer basketball camps. In the statement first shared by New York Daily News reporter Stefan Bondy, Kanter says the Islamic Center of Long Island canceled a free basketball camp slated to occur this weekend after a targeted campaign of threats, meant to scare the mosque, by the Turkish Consulate in New York City.
Here’s an excerpt from Kanter’s statement (emphasis mine):
This weekend I was scheduled to provide a FREE Basketball camp in Long Island, NY at the Islamic Center of Long Island. This would be my 34th FREE camp this summer in over 25 states. I do these camps as part of charity and giving back to all communities, whether they are Jewish, Muslim, Christian or have no faith at all. Which is why I am so hurt that the Islamic Center of Long Island has decided to cancel the camp after the Turkish Consulate in NYC threatened the mosque, sent out their goons and encouraged people in Turkey to call the mosque and leave threatening messages. I am even more disappointing in the Mosque for not calling the police on these thugs. Instead, bowing down before this dictator and his regime, the mosque chose to cancel something positive for the kids.
Kanter added in a tweet that the camp was scheduled to host over 300 kids from the New York City area before it was canceled. Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY-04) retweeted Kanter’s statement, saying that she and her office are working to find another venue for the camp, calling the cancelation “shameful”:
Kanter has been in a lengthy feud with the Turkish government for his comments over the years in opposition to Erdoğan. He’s had his Turkish passport canceled, which led to a short detainment in Romania. He’s also seen his father indicted for “membership in a terror group,” had an international arrest warrant filed against him by the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office, and even missed the Knicks’ London game last year out of fear of Turkish spies in the U.K. (He also did not travel to Toronto for games against the Raptors.) Most recently, Kanter mocked the Erdoğan government for censoring the Western Conference Finals—featuring Kanter’s Blazers against the Warriors—due to his involvement in the series.