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Amid turmoil in Turkey, Kanter finds new home with Knicks

In some ways, Enes Kanter is a man without a home. Kanter hasn't been to Turkey -- the country where he spent much of his childhood -- in more than two years. He hasn't spoken with his parents, who live there, in more than a year.

The isolation is a result of Kanter's vocal criticisms of the government in his home country.


Kanter is a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric based in the United States whom Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of orchestrating last year's failed coup attempt in Turkey.

According to The New York Times, Erdogan has jailed tens of thousands of people accused of plotting a failed coup. In response to those actions, Kanter has been one of the most vocal critics of Erdogan. The fallout from his stance has been severe. His father, Mehmet, wrote a public letter denouncing Kanter's views and disowning him. Kanter was detained in Romania last spring because his Turkish passport was canceled, but he was able to return to the U.S. after American officials intervened.

Last month, Turkey's state-run news agency reported that prosecutors were seeking more than four years in prison for Kanter on charges of insulting Erdogan on Twitter.

Kanter says now that nearly all of his conversations are centered on his political stance.

"It's never like, 'Hey, how are you doing buddy? Are you good? How's our family,'" Kanter says with a laugh. "They want to ask questions ask about what's happening. It's never a normal conversation."

At the moment, home for Kanter is New York. He lives in an apartment located just a short cab ride from Madison Square Garden, his new workplace following a late-September trade to the New York Knicks from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Now, after just 45 games with the franchise, Kanter already feels at home in his new city with what he calls his adopted family.

Kanter discussed his new life in New York, his outspoken critiques of the Turkish government and the fallout from those comments in a Q&A with ESPN.com.

Photo: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images
Author: Ian Begley, ESPN
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