Enes Kanter Has Left Romania And Is Heading Back To The United States

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Enes Kanter is free. The Oklahoma City Thunder center is heading back to the United States after he was detained in Romania on Saturday following the cancelation of his Turkish passport. Kanter tweeted about his release on Saturday afternoon, hours after he first told the world through Twitter that he was detained in Romania.

Kanter’s passport was revoked because he’s been extremely critical of the Turkish government, specifically president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kanter lashed out again at Erdogan on Saturday while in custody, something he’s gotten death threats over in the past.

A spokesperson for the Romanian government spoke to the New York Times about the incident and did not seem remorseful.

“Today at around 1 p.m. local time an individual arrived from Frankfurt,” Fabian Badila, a spokesman for the Romanian border police, said in an interview. “My colleagues established that his travel documents weren’t valid, that they had been canceled by his home country, so he wasn’t allowed to enter the country.

“At around 5 p.m., he left the airport on a flight to London,” Mr. Badila continued. “While he was at the airport he wasn’t detained or locked up, he was allowed to wander around, but he couldn’t enter the country.”

Kanter said he will hold a press conference in New York on Sunday, which would imply he’s heading from London to the Big Apple between now and then.

Here’s an important bit from the Times article.

If Kanter had been deported to Turkey rather than being allowed to continue his travels, he could have faced imprisonment. The Turkish authorities have arrested thousands of people thought to be supporters of Mr. Gulen since the failed coup.

While the initial reports of Kanter’s detainment were scary, things could have been much worse.

(Via New York Times)