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 MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyAdvocates hopeful dueling privacy bills can bridge partisan divide Protecting the future of student data privacy: The time to act is now Key Senate Democrats unveil sweeping online privacy bill MORE (D-Mass.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTrump escalates fight over tax on tech giants Trump administration proposes tariffs on .4B in French goods Democratic congressman calls for study of effects of sex-trafficking law MORE (D-Ore.) on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to help introduce Markey and Wyden's new bill, the Turkey Human Rights Promotion Act.


The press conference came before President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report 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.