Turkish basketball player Enes Kanter, an NBA player for Oklahoma City Thunder, who couldn’t enter Romania on Saturday afternoon because the Turkish authorities cancelled his passport, went to the USA, after approx. four hours, with a flight with a stopover in London. The athlete was supposed to attend several events in Bucharest, this weekend.
Kanter arrived in Bucharest with a flight from Frankfurt, around 14.45, but he was stopped to enter the country; Police informed him that his travel documents aren’t valid. One hour after landing, he announced on Twitter that Police stopped him to enter Romania. The NBA basketball player posted a video in which he was explaining what happened, and a photo with two Romanian policemen.
“I want to say that we are in Romania, and they told me that the Turkish Embassy cancelled my passport, we are stopped here for hours by these two policemen. The reason for what happened is given by my political views. The one who did this is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President. He is an evil man, e is a dictator and he is our century’s Hitler” Kanter said.
Border Police spokesman, Fabian Badila, stated that the athlete wasn’t allowed to enter Romania because he doesn’t have a valid document: “He wasn’t allowed to enter because he didn’t have a valid document. To be able to cross the border, you must have a valid document. The passport wasn’t valid any longer, because it was cancelled by the issuing state. I don’t know what he did further, but he can return to the state from where he came”.
Enes Kanter arrived in Bucharest from Indonesia, via Frankfurt, as part of a global tournament of Enes Kanter Light Foundation; he visited countries like Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, without having similar incidents to the one at the Otopeni Airport.
International newspapers relate Kanter’s problems on the Henri Coanda Airport
International newspapers wrote about the problems encountered on Saturday by the NBA basketball player Enes Kanter, who couldn’t enter Romania, staying in the airport for several hours because his passport was cancelled.
“NBA player Enes Kanter, released after he was blocked in Romania”, New York Times titled. According to the American newspaper, NBA announced that it cooperated to the State Department in order to obtain Kanter’s release and to ensure that the athlete can arrive safely in London. “Kanter, who celebrated 25 years on Saturday, is known as a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, the clerk established in the US, whom Erdogan accused of arranging the failed coup attempt since last year. If Enes Kanter was deported in Turkey instead being let to continue his trip, he could have been imprisoned. Turkish authorities arrested thousands of people supposed to be Gulen’s supporters” added New York Times.
Washington Post wrote that the player finally went to London and he will return in the US, where he established to hold a press conference on Sunday, in New York.
New York Daily News mentions that the Oklahoma City Thunder player was released by the Romanian Border Police after he was blocked as a result of the fact that his passport was suddenly cancelled.
Kanter, who celebrated 25 years on Saturday, was allowed to board for the flight to London, after he posted a 45-second video on Twitter, about the strange incident in Bucharest, the US newspapers added.
The American press wrote that this is not the first time when Enes Kanter has problems because of his opinion on Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In July, 2016, he was death threatened after he criticized the Government, shortly after a terrorist attack in Turkey. In August, Kanter’s father, Mehmet, publicly condemned his son’s political views, stating in an open letter that his son was “hypnotized” by Gulen. “I am ashamed and I apologize to our President and Turkish people for having such a son”, Mehmet Kanter wrote.
Quoting Kanter’s assistant Hadis Fetic, The Oklahoman mentions that the Turkish Government reported lost or stolen passports “in order for them to be confiscated in other countries”. “They are trying to create a circumstance in which you can be extradited to Turkey”, Fetic stated.
“OKC’s Kanter, blocked in Romania” titled ESPN, adding that the basketball player was a harsh critic of Erdogan, which caused tensions in his country, since he is one of the most famous Turkish sportsmen.
Turkish press also related what happened to Kanter.
“Enes Kanter, whose passport was canceled, couldn’t enter Romania” titled the Turkish daily Evrensel, while Internet Haber wrote: “Gulen’s supporter Enes Kanter was blocked in Romania”.
“Enes Kanter, whose passport was canceled, was blocked in Romania!” is the title of the article in Milliyet, which mentions that “being known for his closeness to Fethullah Gulen, the NBA basketball player Enes Kanter wasn’t allowed to enter Romania”.
“Difficult moments for Gulen’s spiritual son”, odatv.com also wrote, while Sabah titled: “Shock at the airport for Gulen’s supporter Enes Kanter. His passport was retained”.
BBC wrote about the fact that Enes Kanter was blocked in Bucharest, mentioning that he was allowed to go to London, although it is unclear what documents he used to this end.
“Being death threatened and reneged by his family for the public support he brought to Fethullah Gülen, Enes Kanter is no longer welcomed in Istanbul. He revealed a video on the social networks, in which he said that he was blocked on the Bucharest airport when he was about to return to his mother country” L’Equipe wrote.
Italian and German newspapers also wrote about Kanter’ problems on the Bucharest airport, pointing out that the player will speak about this “adventure” in a press conference held at New York, announced by the athlete on Twitter.
Melescanu: Romania respected the decision taken by Turkey, who canceled the passport of the basketball player Kanter
Romania respected the decision taken by Turkey, who cancelled the passport of the basketball player Enes Kanter, so that it couldn’t allow him enter the country’s territory, stated the Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu for News.ro.
Romania couldn’t act in a different way, and the Foreign Affairs Ministry cannot comment on the incident, added the head of the Romanian diplomacy, who is present at the summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, held in Istanbul.