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Hedo Turkoglu claims Enes Kanter’s running a smear campaign against Turkish president Erdogan; Kanter responds

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This situation continues to be messy.

NBA: New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

What was initially just a kind of scary story where Enes Kanter didn’t feel safe traveling with the Knicks to London for fear of being killed by one of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spies has now taken a turn towards absurd.

Former NBA player Hedo Turkoglu, a Turk himself and apparently a senior adviser to Erdogan these days, fired back today to say that Kanter was actually lying about his reasons for skipping the trip, and, in fact, Kanter just had issues obtaining a visa. From ESPN:

“We know that [Kanter] has not been able to travel to many countries due to visa issues since 2017,” Turkoglu said in a statement posted to Twitter on Monday. “In other words, Kanter can’t enter the UK not because of fears for life as he claims but due to passport and visa issues. This being the long-known truth, he is trying to get the limelight with irrational justifications and political remarks.

“Such remarks constitute another example of the political smear campaign Kanter has been conducting against Turkey as well as his efforts to attribute importance to himself by covering up the contradictions in his sports career. ... It is obvious that this person’s remarks are irrational and distort the truth.”

But wait, there’s more! Kanter was of course asked about this situation after practice in Portland today, and he rebutted in his trademark no-pulled-punches style:

“It’s probably not [Turkoglu], but the president making him say it,” Kanter told reporters. “If you look at his Twitter, it’s German, English and Turkish. It’s three languages, and he doesn’t even know German. They’re probably making him do it. He’s kind of like his puppy dog. Lap dog is better. He probably got so much money for that.”

...

“They don’t understand the conversation and it’s very confusing,” said Kanter, who posted a photo of a travel document on Twitter. “It’s not a visa issue. ... I have a travel document.... I can travel.”

Yes, you read that right. Kanter had to take to Twitter and post a picture of his travel visa to discredit Turkoglu and Erdogan’s claims:

Funny thing about bombastic dictator types — they love to stir shit and make people produce documents to disprove their obvious lies.

The confusion on the part of the Turkish government might have been because they believed Kanter would not be able to travel abroad without his Turkish passport — the same one that Erdogan and friends revoked while Kanter was in Romania in May of 2017, nearly causing an international incident. In addition to revoking Kanter’s passport, Erdogan has also jailed Kanter’s father and forced his family to publicly disown him.

Lastly, I’ll just end by saying that one of Turkoglu’s 10 career similarity scores on Basketball-Reference is Antonio McDyess.