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Former NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom is a wanted terrorist in his home country of Turkey. And the Turkish government appears to be serious about capturing him as an official bounty has been put on his head.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is offering up to 10 million Turkish Lira, which comes out to roughly $500,000, for information leading to the capture of Freedom. The 30-year-old’s name is also on Turkey’s 2023 most-wanted terrorists list.
“That makes it so dangerous,” Freedom told The New York Post. “Before the bounty, Turkish intelligence were after the people on the list, but now everyone is after them because they want the money.”
Turkey placing him on its terrorist list and putting a bounty on his head is in response to Freedom speaking out against human rights abuses around in Turkey and around the world.
Freedom, a U.S. citizen, has passionately advocated for the right of Uyghurs and other oppressed people around the world while also bashing the NBA’s dealings with China.
On the Turkish Interior Ministry website, Freedom is described as a member of a terrorist organization.
“I’m not the only one. There are so many innocent journalists, academics, athletes, activists and educators on this list. Now their lives are in danger because of the Turkish government,” Freedom told Turkish Minute.
Freedom, who currently lives in Washington D.C., explained that he’s being protected 24/7 and is in constant contact with local authorities as well as the FBI.
Freedom believes he has been blackballed by the NBA for standing up for human rights and criticizing the league. He spent 13 seasons in the NBA with his last being the 2021-22 campaign with the Boston Celtics playing in 35 games and averaging 3.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.