NBA player Kanter heading to US after detained in Romania
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter is returning to the United States after being detained in a Romanian airport.
Romanian Border Police spokesman Fabian Badila confirmed to The Associated Press that the player left Romania for the United States via London.
Kanter, who is Turkish, said in a video Saturday morning on his Twitter account that the Turkish embassy canceled his passport and he’d been detained for several hours at a Romanian airport.
He later tweeted “All good baby!” and said he’d hold a news conference in New York on Sunday.
Kanter said he believed he was held because of his political views. He’s been a critic of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kanter supports Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who opposes Erdogan.
He was traveling in Europe and Indonesia with his Enes Kanter Light Foundation when he arrived in the Romanian capital of Bucharest.
Kanter posted photos of himself with officers in the airport on Saturday, his 25th birthday. In the video, he called Erdogan a “bad, bad man” and a “dictator.”
A Thunder spokesman said the team had been working with the NBA to gather information through appropriate channels.
The 6-foot-11 player, who moved to the U.S. in 2009, was the third overall pick by the Utah Jazz in the 2011 draft. He was traded to the Thunder in 2015.
Kanter has been one of the NBA’s best reserves the past two years. This season, he averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds.
AP TV reporter Olimpiu Gheorghiu in Bucharest, Romania, contributed to this report.
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