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The FBI Told Enes Freedom to Return to US Immediately During Overseas Basketball Camp. Here's Why.

AP Photo/Mary Schwalm

Former NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom made a name for himself by speaking out against human rights abuses in his home country of Turkey, as well as in China, even calling out the NBA for its ties to the communist country. 

But his efforts to highlight global human rights violations have come at a price. Not only has he not been able to see his family in Turkey for nearly a decade, but he's been listed on Turkey's Terrorist Wanted List. As such, the country placed a bounty on the Turkish-American athlete, who became a U.S. citizen in 2021 and took on the surname "Freedom."

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government is offering 10 million Lira, or the equivalent of $500,000, for information leading to his capture.

"Before the bounty, Turkish intelligence were after the people on the list, but now everyone is after them because they want the money," he told the New York Post recently.

"Because of my platform, whenever I say something, it goes everywhere, and the Turkish government hates that," Freedom said. "They're really sick of it, and they said 'enough is enough' and are doing whatever they can to shut me up."

Due to that bounty, Freedom said he received an urgent call from the FBI while he was leading a basketball camp in Vatican City—they told him to return to the U.S. immediately. 

Recalling his initial reaction to the news, Freedom said it left him "speechless."

On Wednesday, while speaking to Fox News's Tucker Carlson about the bounty, Freedom called on the Biden administration to take action against Turkey. 

"It's been almost two years, and he has not done a thing yet. We have to prioritize human rights. There are so many political prisoners and innocent people in the jail waiting for help," he said. 

Lawmakers are also calling on the Biden administration to address the threat against Freedom. 


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