Sports

Turkey seeks arrest of New York Knicks star

Kanter said he would not travel to London for his club’s NBA game on 17 January because of fears over Turkish spies

Turkish prosecutors have issued an international arrest warrant for New York Knicks basketball player Enes Kanter, Turkish media report.

They reportedly accuse Mr Kanter, a 26-year-old centre at the NBA club, of having links with armed groups said to be behind the 2016 failed coup.

The athlete, who describes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “dictator”, denies the allegations.

His Turkish passport was cancelled in 2017. He holds a US green card.

Earlier this month, Mr Kanter said he would not travel to London for his club’s NBA game on 17 January because of fears over Turkish spies.

“There’s a chance that I can get killed out there,” he said.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Mr Kanter wrote that the “Turkish government cannot present any single piece of evidence of my wrongdoing”.

“I don’t even have a parking ticket in the US. I have always been a law-abiding resident,” he added.

Mr Kanter’s US green card allows him to live and work in America on a permanent basis.

An arrest warrant was issued for his father, Mehmet, in June 2018 after the university professor was accused of contacting members of a banned organisation.

More than 50,000 people have been imprisoned across Turkey in a massive crackdown by the authorities, following the failed coup.

(BBC)