NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom railed at President Joe Biden for not staying silent about human rights abuses to keep allies happy.
In a recent podcast interview, Kanter said that athletes should use their platform to speak out about issues, despite getting criticism that he should stay out of politics and stick to sports.
“I never do politics, there’s a difference between politics and human rights,” he remarked, noting that he never encourages anyone to vote one way or the other.
He blames Congress, Wall Street, and Hollywood for getting into bed with authoritarian governments, like the People’s Republic of China, for profits.
“When I was growing up, I … always see [an] America that represents democracy, freedom, and human rights, but unfortunately, I feel like when it comes to authoritarian regimes sometimes, they remain silent,” Kanter said.
Kanter was exiled from his home country Turkey, after calling the authoritarian country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “the Hitler of our century,” in 2017. He became a U.S. citizen in fall of 2021, and legally changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.
Kanter explained that he had lunch with a high-profile Democratic Senator, and asked why Biden, despite being aware of his story and human rights advocacy, wouldn’t accept a meeting with him, as he has been trying to get a sit down since the President took office.
“And he’s like, listen, he knows all the human rights violations and political prisoners in Turkey, but Turkey is still a NATO ally. And obviously, America doesn’t want to go war with Turkey,” he recalled.
“And [Biden] meeting with you is pretty much a screw you to President Erdogan, so that’s why he is pretty much scared to have a conversation with you.”
Kanter was shocked by the answer. “I was like, so you telling me the most, I guess, powerful person in the world and most powerful house in the world are scared to meet with a 29-year-old NBA player.”
The Celtics star, who hasn’t seen his family since 2015, due to an arrest warrant that has been issued against him in Turkey, said he has repeatedly sought an invitation to the White House.
“Unfortunately, I guess it’s politics,” he resigned. “But I feel like they should definitely focus more on the human rights.”