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NBA's Enes Kanter speaks out against Erdoğan ahead of White House visit

NBA's Enes Kanter speaks out against Erdoğan ahead of White House visit
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Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter joined Sens. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally MORE (D-Mass.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers On The Money: Push for student loan forgiveness puts Biden in tight spot | Trump is wild card as shutdown fears grow | Mnuchin asks Fed to return 5 billion in unspent COVID emergency funds Grassley, Wyden criticize Treasury guidance concerning PPP loans MORE (D-Ore.) on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to help introduce Markey and Wyden's new bill, the Turkey Human Rights Promotion Act.

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The press conference came before President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE is supposed to host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the White House on Wednesday. 

"Today, I am introducing legislation along with my good friend Sen. Ron Wyden that we hope will call attention to the crack-down on human rights in Turkey," Markey said.

"Donald Trump should rescind the invitation for President Erdoğan to visit and make clear that Turkey’s record on human rights is unacceptable," Markey added.

During the press conference, both senators and Dr. Courtney Radsch, advocacy director for the Committee to Protect Journalists, highlighted the various human rights violations that have happened in Turkey, specifically the imprisonment of journalists.

"Last year, at least 68 journalists were behind bars, 74 in 2017, 81 in 2016," Radsch said. 

"Turkey accounts for a quarter of the journalists jailed in the world," Radsch added.

Additionally, Markey highlighted that more than 80,000 Turkish citizens have been imprisoned and more than 130,000 public servants have been dismissed or suspended, all under the umbrella of "terrorist-related grounds."

The main goal of the bill is to put pressure on Erdoğan to release the prisoners and restore liberties such as freedom of speech.

Kanter, a longtime critic of Erdoğan, thanked Markey and Wyden for their leadership. 

"You guys know my story because I play in the NBA, but there are thousands and thousands of stories out there that are worse than mine," the 27-year-old said.

"That’s why I’m trying to use my platform to be the voice of all those innocent people who don’t have one," Kanter added.