Enes Kanter Freedom ‘speechless’ but not intimidated by massive Turkish bounty

Outspoken ex-NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom received a phone call from the FBI while leading a basketball camp in Vatican City and was told to hightail it back to the States immediately after Turkey put a $500,000 bounty on his head and placed him on a most-wanted terrorists list.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

The former NBA player sat down with Fox News host Tucker Carlson to tell his story and defiantly stated that he will not be intimidated by the Turks.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government placed a bounty of $500,000 on his head for his capture, according to the Turkish Minute.

“When I had a conversation with my friends on the ground, they said the mafia, the serial killers actually, professional hitmen and cartels could be after my case,” Freedom said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“And I was speechless. I was like, ‘This is… this cannot be happening to an American citizen on U.S. soil.'”

“That makes it so dangerous,” Freedom told the New York Post in an interview. “Before the bounty, Turkish intelligence were after the people on the list, but now everyone is after them because they want the money.”

“Because of my platform, whenever I say something, it goes everywhere and the Turkish government hates that,” he asserted. “They’re really sick of it, and they said ‘enough is enough’ and are doing whatever they can to shut me up.”

The former NBA star played with the Boston Celtics during their run to the 2022 NBA finals. Now, he finds himself on Turkey’s most-wanted terrorist list because of his stance on human rights abuses in his parents’ home country. He has also been very critical of Erdogan’s leadership, referring to the Turkish president as the “Hitler of our century.”

If Erdogan thought he could intimidate and silence Freedom, he underestimated him.

“You know, I’m not the only one. There are so many journalists, so many activists, and so many athletes, but they aren’t as well-known as me. They are way easier targets — and they’re alone out there,” the basketball sensation noted.

Because of threats to his life, Freedom has been unable to return to Turkey to visit his family for almost ten years. He still firmly believes that Turkey can serve as “the bridge between Islam and the West.” His father, Mehmet, was jailed in Turkey, and his family was forced to disown him for their own safety, the athlete said.

“My dad went to a market, and people spit on his face,” he told the New York Post. “And my mom can’t walk outside freely because she gets harassed.”

On Tuesday, Freedom imparted a very stark message to the Biden administration.

“It’s been almost two years and he has not done a thing yet. We have to prioritize human rights. There are so many political prisoners and innocent people in the jail waiting for help,” Freedom remarked, apparently referring to President Biden.

“I really want to show the world what kind of person Erdoğan is. Western leaders are not doing enough. They’re playing softball with this dictatorship,” Freedom remarked. “Diplomacy is important, but on the other side of the world people are losing their lives, their homes, and their loved ones.”

The former player has long been an outspoken advocate for human rights across the globe, speaking out against violations as he sees them regardless of religion or political persuasion.

Freedom has nailed fellow player Lebron James and the NBA previously for supporting China and taking money from the communists. On-court he has pointedly worn sneakers with messages about Xi Jinping and the treatment of the Uyghur community.

“I tweeted that Hong Kong should be free. [Then] Le Bron said he is not educated enough about the situation [to comment on it] and that what I tweeted hurt the league,” Freedom told the New York Post in 2021. “It’s sad that these players are social justice warriors, but, when it comes to China, they are scared to say anything … Your values are more important than any money you can ever make from China.”

The free agent also believes that his outspokenness has played a role in his being cut from the league. He told the New York Post that he is looking into suing the NBA over it, “I’m waiting for the right time.”

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