Now back in the USA after a State Department intervention, Kanter held a press conference at the National Basketball Players Association headquarters in Manhattan, where he made clear that he intends to continue to use his basketball fame to publicize human rights violations in Turkey and to criticize Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kanter was eventually allowed to fly to London, and has since returned to the United States.
Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter said he wants to become an American citizen and that the United States "is my home now".
Kanter, who often speaks out against Turkish President Erdogan, according to ESPN, repeated that he believes the passport incident is connected to such frequent criticism, saying Monday, "I know how bad of a man he is". "My brother told me that my dad went to the supermarket, and they spit on his face".
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Kanter explained that during his detention in Romania, he feared nothing more than being sent back to his country of Turkey.
Kanter has a green card that was issued in 2016.
"I'm open for adoption", he told reporters in NY. "It was scary because there was a chance they might send me back to Turkey". Kanter joins "CBS This Morning" after arriving back in the U.S. Sunday from Europe.
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He believes Turkey canceled his passport due to his political views. "He's a dictator. And he's the Hitler of our century".
Kanter said Homeland Security, his lawyers, lawyers from the National Basketball Association and the Thunder, the NBAPA and Oklahoma senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford helped him, and he was allowed to fly to London and finally NY. "We were just working as one team", Kanter said. "I hope the world is going to do something about it". Kanter does hold a green card, although his revoked passport means he may require special circumstances to attend the Thunder's game in Toronto next season. Becoming a naturalized citizen can sometimes take up to years, though the process varies by case.
"They've been holding us here for hours, by these two police [officers]", Kanter, who turned 25 on Saturday, said.
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-Kanter said he didn't know when he was coming back to Oklahoma City, but that he'd run into Thunder teammate Nick Collison in New York City on Monday. In a statement, Inhofe praised Executive Order 13769, which suspended the entry of Syrian refugees and blocked the entry of people traveling from Muslim-majority countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. "I hope the world is going to do something about it".