Thunder's Kanter talks airport detention, was scared he'd be sent back to Turkey
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter is back in the United States this morning and speaking about an incident that saw him detained at a Romanian airport this weekend.
"The past 48 or 52 hours definitely one of the craziest experiences I've had," said Kanter during a press conference in New York City.
Shortly before 8:30 a.m. May 20, Kanter tweeted he was being held at an airport in Romania. The video he tweeted says his passport was canceled by the Turkish embassy and he was being held by police.
But Kanter says the real trouble started while he was in Indonesia, hosting a basketball clinic at a school.
"My manager knocked on my door around 2:30 [a.m.] and said we need to talk," said Kanter. "He said the secret service of Indonesia and army is looking for you. Turkish government called them and said he's a dangerous man, we need to talk to him."
Kanter says instead of meeting with authorities, he and his manager thought it'd be best to leave the country and flew to Singapore early that morning before heading to Romania where the passport incident began.
Once in Romania, the Thunder center was told his passport had been cancelled by the Turkish embassy.
Kanter says his biggest fear at the time was being sent back to his home country.
"It was of course scary, because there was a chance they might send me back to Turkey," said Kanter. "And if they sent me back to Turkey, there's a chance you guys wouldn't have heard a word from me the second day."
On Saturday afternoon, Kanter was allowed to leave Romania for London, and eventually returned to the United States on Sunday.
Kanter has been an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and in August was reportedly disowned by his parents for being a follower of Fethullah Gulen, the leader of a Turkish faction based in Pennsylvania.
The Turkish native touched on his feelings toward Erdogan during the press conference, calling him a "terrible man" and "the Hitler of our century."
Kanter also had many thanks to hand-out, saying he received texts from teammates, coaches, Thunder GM Sam Presti, Oklahoma lawmakers and so many other people. He also thanked the Department of Homeland Security for their involvement on the matter.
Kanter's biggest shout-out, however may have been to the American public, who he thanked for supporting him throughout his ordeal.
"Right now, I'm country-less. I'm open for adoption," Kanter said jokingly. "My next move is just trying to become an American citizen."