Enes Kanter Changes Name, Disowned by Family for Support of Turkish Coup
If you thought the 2016 Presidential Election between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton was terrible and unbelievably polarizing, read up on politics in Turkey right now.
Last month, the Turkish military staged a coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The President has been progressively moving Turkey away from its secular constitution, jailing and shutting down journalists and publications that oppose him, and ridding the country of his political opponents. Turkey, along with China and Egypt, has one of the highest rates of journalists and reporters behind bars.
The coup failed, and Erdogan remains in power. Any opposition to the Turkish government and Erdogan is not welcome—even if that resistance comes from a professional basketball player.
Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter is a Turkish-American and a public follower /of Fethullah Gulen, the cleric in Pennsylvania accused by Erdogan of staging the coup. The United States has requested specific evidence before extraditing.
Kanter has also made his support for the coup and disdain for the current Turkish administration. As a result, Mehmet Kanter, Enes’s father who still lives in Turkey, disowned his son completely.
“With a feeling of shame I apologize to our president and the Turkish people for having such a son,” said Mehmet in a letter published by the Turkish media.
Kanter, in response, tweeted out a letter written in Turkish, and he signed his name as “Enes (Kanter) GULEN.”
“Today I lost those who for 24 years I called…my family,” wrote Enes. “My own family wanted me to change my surname. The mother who gave birth to me rejected me…May God take every second of my life and give it to my brave Teacher.”
Enes wouldn’t be the first NBA player to change his name, although his reason for switching things up is much more somber than Ron Artest’s jump to Metta World Peace.
But next time you feel like an outcast for supporting Trump or Clinton to the chagrin of some, just remember, it could be worse. Your parents here will love you either way…I hope.