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NBA Commissioner Speaks Out on Player Skipping Road Trip over Assassination Fears

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the safety and security of players will always be paramount for the league after New York Knicks center Enes Kanter did not travel to London for his team’s game against the Washington Wizards.

Kanter said he feared he could be attacked or killed over his opposition to Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he were to travel to London.

Istanbul-based newspaper Daily Sabah reported that an arrest warrant was issued for Kanter by Turkish prosecutors on Wednesday, accusing him of membership in a terror organization.

The Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office also prepared an extradition request for the NBA player, according to the report.

Kanter responded on Twitter that the Turkish government could not present “any single piece of evidence of my wrongdoing.”

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“I don’t even have a parking ticket in the U.S.,” he wrote Wednesday.

Silver, speaking ahead of Thursday’s game, said that “it was never a suggestion from the league that (Kanter) was not welcome on this trip.”

“There are significant issues that he is dealing with, and I recognize that for the NBA, by virtue of the fact that we’re a global business, we have to pay a lot of attention to those issues as well,” the commissioner said.

Kanter, who has frequently criticized Erdogan, had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017.

He said he feared assassination if he left the U.S. or Canada when he announced last week that he wouldn’t travel with the Knicks, who play the Wizards at the O2 Arena. The team said at the time Kanter wouldn’t make the trip because of a visa issue.

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Kanter denied that was the problem, even posting a photo of a travel document on social media, and made it clear his issue was his safety because of Ergodan, whom he has referred to as “the Hitler of our century.”

“They’ve got a lot of spies there,” he said. “I think I can get killed there easy. It would be a very ugly situation.”

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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