NBA's Enes Kanter pens op-ed on what Trump should say to Erdoğan

NBA's Enes Kanter pens op-ed on what Trump should say to Erdoğan
© Getty images

NBA player Enes Kanter on Wednesday authored an op-ed in The Washington Post regarding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to the White House that day.

Kanter, who's Turkish and still has family members in Turkey, has been a vocal critic of Erdoğan's for years. Turkey is a strategic ally for the U.S. as well as a fellow member of NATO.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 27-year-old starts his piece by saying "when President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE meets his Turkish counterpart at the White House on Wednesday he should make clear that U.S. support is not unconditional."

"The alliance is becoming increasingly difficult to defend when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has placed so many strains on it."

Kanter, who plays for the Boston Celtics, continues by mentioning Turkey's recent military campaign into northern Syria, a move that was accelerated by President Trump withdrawing remaining U.S. troops from Syria's northeastern border.

"I will leave the foreign-policy aspect to others; my aim is to draw attention to Erdogan’s mistreatment of his own people," Kanter notes.

"Turkey’s most outspoken journalists and activists are languishing in prisons, media companies are either being shut down or cowed into submission, teachers are being jailed, civil society organizations are threatened and social media is heavily censored."

Continuing, he says "the attacks on dissent are so arbitrary that anyone who offers even a mild criticism might see the inside of a prison cell."

Kanter says he wants to "urge Trump to press Erdogan to stop cracking down on his political opposition and end his authoritarian abuses of Turkish citizens."

Kanter then mentions his website "You Are My Hope," where Kanter is attempting to gain "1 million signatures to raise awareness of the human rights abuses in my home country."

"When the goal is reached, I intend to send the petition to human rights groups, to Congress, to any organization that might be able to be able to bring pressure to bear on the Erdogan regime," Kanter writes.

"And, of course, I’ll send it to the White House."