Turkey Puts $500K Bounty On Enes Kanter Freedom

Turkey Puts $500K Bounty On Enes Kanter Freedom

Turkey Puts $500K Bounty On Enes Kanter Freedom

Turkey really doesn’t like Enes Kanter Freedom. The Turkish government absolutely hates his outspoken ways and his continually calling out that dictatorial regime. Thus, last week the government put a $500 million bounty out on Enes.

No, this wasn’t rumor. Turkey actually published the details of the bounty. 

The government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has put a bounty on the head of activist and NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom, on a list that includes many journalists and other athletes.

Freedom, who has not had a team to play for since 2022, reportedly for speaking out against human rights abuses around the world, spoke to Turkish Minute about his inclusion on the Turkish Interior Ministry’s “Terrorist Wanted List,” which offers a reward of up to TL 10 million for information that leads to the capture of the wanted person.

The Turkish government wants information that will lead to his capture. Which also presumably means he’d be smuggled back into Turkey and face trial. Or would he face trial? Given how the Turkish government operates, I’d venture it would depend upon what Erdogan wants. 

As Deanna wrote here, Enes Kanter became a U.S. citizen in 2021. 

The Swiss-born, Turkish-raised player became an American citizen in 2021, and he added Freedom to his name. He currently lives in Washington, D.C., where he is in “constant contact” with local authorities and the FBI as a result of being on Erdogan’s list.

“I’m being protected 24/7,” Freedom said.

Enes Kanter Freedom has been an outspoken critic of Turkey and of China. Which has earned him the ire of the NBA who blatantly kowtows to China. Enes, not content to call out Erdogan, went after China and the NBA’s hypocrisy as well. 

But he caused a rift in the league — which pulls in billions of dollars in revenue from China via nearly half a billion viewers — when he became an outspoken critic of Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party.

He’s also been critical of Nike — a major NBA advertiser and player sponsor — for its manufacturing deals in China.

What did the NBA do? Essentially sidelined him. He was too outspoken. It wasn’t good form to call out the ‘China says jump and the NBA jumps all the time’ relationship between the two entities. Therefore he had to be sidelined. He was and is too good of a player to kick to the curb entirely, plus if the NBA HAD booted Freedom from the league, the blowback would’ve been brutal. 

Keep in mind, this is a man who hasn’t seen his family in nine years. Is it any wonder that he’s considering suing the NBA for their passive aggressive actions?

But that won’t stop him from speaking out and fighting for the enslaved and marginalized. 

Enes Kanter Freedom will continue to speak out because others in Turkey who do end up with everything they own being confiscated and being labeled a terrorist. Yes, Enes is now considered a terrorist by the Turkish government. Furthermore, if ANYONE in Turkey says his name as one announcer did by using soccer player Hazan Sukor’s name (he’s on the list as well). That announcer was yanked off the air. Not only that, but both of their fathers are in jail as Turkey is attempting to use them as leverage to silence both athletes.

For Freedom, this is the price he must pay for speaking out against human rights abuses.

“I hope the world will open its eyes and put an end to Erdoğan’s human rights violations,” he says

Enes Kanter Freedom has been a warrior for free speech. He’s not letting the NBA’s attempt to sideline him stop him from speaking out. Nor will he stop calling out Lebron Jame’s hypocrisy whether it involves his complicit silence on China or Jame’s commentary regarding Brittany Griner. 

Who would you want to stand up for you and your rights to freedom? Who would you want to speak out on your behalf regarding human rights abuses? LeBron James? The NBA? Or Enes Kanter Freedom? 

With Turkey placing a half million dollar bounty on Enes’s head, one thing is abundantly clear, his championing for freedom and free speech has made that country angry and they’ll do anything they can to shut him up. 

Feature Photo Credit:  Enes Kanter via Wikimedia Commons, cropped, Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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  • Cameron says:

    A real President would have made it clear that targeting our citizens like that will have fatal consequences for Edrogan and his family.

  • GWB says:

    I think Freedom should move somewhere* he can truly be free and arm himself.
    (* I’m assuming he lives somewhere like Massachusetts, since he played last for Boston.)

    I also think this sort of thing should rip Turkey from NATO.

  • GWB says:

    One minor problem in your post, Nina. You say “$500 million” in at least one place, with the headline and other places stating it’s half a million.

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