Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter will compete on the biggest stage of his NBA career on Monday night, when Portland faces the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals.
However, his countrymen in his native Turkey will not be able to see the game because it’s being blocked out due to Kanter’s alleged links to terror groups.
S Sport, the primary network that carries NBA games inside Turkey, will not air the game according to two commentators.
“I can say clearly that we will not be broadcasting the Warriors-Blazers series,” S Sport broadcaster Omer Sarac told Reuters. “Furthermore, if Portland makes it to the finals, (that) will not be broadcast either … This situation is not about us, but it is what it is.”
According to Reuters, “Kanter has been an outspoken critic of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and describes himself as a close ally of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for a failed coup in July 2016. Gulen has denied involvement.
“Kanter is charged with belonging to an armed terrorist group, which he denies, and Turkish officials have demanded that the United States extradites him.”
The decision is not necessarily a surprise. Kanter’s games have been blacked out on Turkish television sonce last year, when he was indicted by a Turkish court.
Kanter has been a vocal critic of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, and a follower of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The Erdogan government believes Gulen was behind a failed coup in July of 2016.
Gulen has denied involvement.
“The NBA did not immediately comment on whether it would reconsider its contract with S Sport given the partial blackout, which comes as it seeks to further expand business beyond North America,” Reuters reports.