Enes Kanter said the other Turkish NBA players, like Furkan Korkmaz, Cedi Osman and Ersan Ilyasova, don’t speak to him due to his criticism of the current Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“What hurts me the most is other Turkish players in the league. We have Ersan Ilyasova, we have Cedi Osman in Cleveland, we have Furkan Korkmaz in Philly. Whenever we go against they don’t say a word,” Kanter said to Bill Simmon’s podcast, per Eurohoops.net.
“I actually try to talk to them. I’m like ‘Hey dude, what’s up? How are you doing?’ No answer. Because they might be scared of the Turkish government that if they see a picture or video us talking, they might be in trouble, whatever. I try to cover my mouth with my jersey and try to talk to them. They turn their face the other way.”
Kanter has been labeled as a terrorist in the country, due to his support of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen and his movement. Gulen has been accused by the Turkish government for being the mastermind behind a failed military coup in 2016.
“In the end these players represent Turkey. Whenever we play against them I pray for them. I hope we win the game but I hope they play good. They are representing their families, their country, their people. I got a lot of respect for them. I don’t blame them. I understand that they are scared. When these things settle down and when this regime changes, I’m sure they’ll change their mind.”