Oregon senator blasts Erdoğan over 'torment' of Turkish NBA player
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Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenAlcohol industry races to save tax break by year-end deadline GOP senator blasts Dem bills on 'opportunity zones' Pelosi aide hopeful White House will support drug-pricing bill despite criticism MORE (D-Ore.) on Tuesday blasted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the treatment of Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter and his family, saying the State Department should take measures to help Kanter.

"Mr. Erdoğan, the world is watching how you treat Enes Kanter's father this week and in the weeks ahead," Wyden said from the Senate floor.


"Mr. Erdoğan, the world is watching how you treat Mr. Kanter both when he is on American soil and when Enes travels abroad." 

"The United States cannot, and must not, stand idly by while Enes and his family are subject to this autocratic torment."

Kanter has feuded for years with Turkey's government, which alleges that Kanter is a terrorist because of his support for Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen.

Turkey has accused Gülen of orchestrating a failed coup against the government in 2016. It has sought the extradition of Gülen, who lives in the U.S.

In 2017, the Turkish government revoked Kanter's passport and subsequently issued an international arrest warrant for him, which has meant Kanter has not been able to play NBA games in Toronto or London.

The basketball star’s father, Mehmet Kanter, was indicted last year and charged with “membership in a terror group.”

Wyden added in his floor speech that the "state department should be taking all necessary steps to ensure that Mr. Kanter can travel safely with the Trail Blazers or to advocate for the freedom of his people.”