The nation of Turkey is reportedly still lashing out at the NBA’s Enes Kanter, this time by allegedly putting pressure on a Long Island mosque to cancel a youth basketball camp that the Celtics player had scheduled for this summer.
Kanter was set to hold a free youth outreach event at the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury, but after the mosque was allegedly assailed by the Turkish Consulate, the event was canceled.
Kanter tweeted a statement noting that it is “with a heavy heart” that he had to disappoint the kids.
Such a disgrace that @TRConsulNY attacked @ICLINY through their bully tactics and caused my camp’s cancellation; they punished over 300+ New Yorker kids who were supposed to have a free Basketball camp. This is how the #TurkishDictator operates. pic.twitter.com/CmHmnqWSgH
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) July 25, 2019
“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,” Kanter said in his statement. “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.”
Kanter also slammed the mosque for bowing to the “thugs.”
“I am even more disappointed 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,” he wrote.
Kanter has faced constant threats of arrest by Turkish authorities if he were to travel outside the U.S. over his sharp criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Curiously, Canada and many European nations won’t condemn the Turkish government’s threats nor assure Kanter that he would be protected from arrest by Turkish forces were he to visit their nations.
U.S. officials have thoroughly condemned the Turkish government’s actions and affirmed that Kanter would not fear being molested by Turkish agents here in the United States.
A few months ago, for instance, Senator Ron Wyden (D, OR) pressured the Canadian government to agree to protect Kanter from Turkish harassment were he to join his team to play in Toronto.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.