Erdogan Critic Turkish NBA star Enes Freedom keen to play in Greece; meet Greek PM


A vocal critic of Turkish President Erdogan's policies, Turkish NBA Celtics star Enes Freedom has expressed has made it clear that he plans to visit Greece for the possibility of playing there and keen to meet with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to discuss Turkish refugees’ pushbacks in the Aegean, reports Eurohoops.

“Now that I have my American passport, I intend to visit Greece and meet with the prime minister, to discuss the pushbacks of Turkish refugees”, stated Freedom. “Depending on how our conversation goes, I will talk to him about the possibility of playing professionally in Greece”.

According to Eurohoops, Enes Freedom has previously expressed his desire to compete in Greece with Panathinaikos in a previous interview with OPEN TV, while he was also a reported mediator for former New York Knicks teammate Mario Hezonja’s transfer to the Greens in 2021.


Enes Kanter Freedom is a Swiss-born, ethnic-Turkish American professional basketball player who last played for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected as the third overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz. A center, Freedom has played for five NBA teams since entering the league in 2011. He has represented the Turkish national team in international play.

Freedom is known for his pro-democracy activism and for his outspoken criticism of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Kanter said he became publicly critical of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2013 due to the corruption scandal in Turkey. After the failed 2016 coup d'état attempt, Kanter criticised Turkish president Erdoğan on Twitter, calling him the "Hitler of our century". Soon after the coup attempt in July, his father and his family publicly disowned him due to his political views and his support for Gülen, imploring him to change his surname, on August 8. Kanter stated that he loves Gülen "more than his family", informally changing his name to Enes Gülen.

His father was dismissed from his university position a few weeks later, via government decree numbered 272 on September 1, as part of the 2016–17 Turkish purges. Also, Kanter has received backlash from former NBA player Hedo Turkoglu. Turkoglu has called Kanter's comments "irrational".

In Turkey, Kanter's father was charged as a member of a terrorist group in 2018. He was arrested, then was released after being detained for five days. Kanter believes his father has been targeted by the Turkish government and could face many years in prison.[83] Kanter is unable to contact his friends and family back in Turkey because he fears the conversations will be tapped and they will be harmed. Six days after the cancellation of his passport, the Turkish government issued an arrest warrant for Kanter due to his membership in Hizmet, an Islamist fraternal movement.

Turkey said that charged citizens who fail to come to Turkey during September 2017 face revocation of citizenship; in September 2017, Kanter described himself as stateless.

According to Sports Illustrated, "Although Kanter might dismiss the Turkish arrest warrant as toothless, he faces the more impactful problem of being a man without a country." In December 2017, the Associated Press reported that Turkish prosecutors were seeking more than four years in prison for Kanter, who would be tried in absentia.

Also in January 2019, Turkey put an extradition request on Kanter and requested that Interpol put a red notice for his arrest. However, according to Interpol's website, no red notice had been issued.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon took up Kanter's cause, stating "The United States must not stay silent in the face of such a blatant attack on free thought and expression."

Kanter later credited the bond he and Wyden had forged as part of the reason he sacrificed salary to facilitate a trade back to Portland in 2020.