From Left: Dr. Courtney Radsch of the Committe to Protect Journalists, Sen. Ed Markey, Celtics center Enes Kanter, and Sen. Ron Wyden. (Sen. Ed Markey)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston Celtics Center Enes Kanter joined Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey Tuesday to introduce a bill condemning Turkey's abuse of counterterrorism to target political rivals.
The bill and Kanter's visit come one day before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House.
The legislation urges the release of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, and promotes freedom of the press, freedom online, and rule of law.
Kanter, a native of Turkey, has been outspoken in his criticism of Erdoğan. In a Fox News op-ed published Tuesday, Kanter vowed never to stop.
Sen. Markey mentioned Kanter in presenting the bill. He said Erdoğan issued an Interpol Red Notice, "essentially an arrest warrant, for Enes Kanter, who simply has been exercising his right to free speech to advocate for basic human rights."
Kanter also had his passport revoked in 2017; he has not traveled outside the United States, even for basketball games, due to his fear of international arrest.
Markey reiterated that the Turkish government's treatment of Kanter would not be tolerated.
"Any attempt by foreign leaders to weaponize international law enforcement to track down and punish those who rightly call out their oppression is unacceptable—not just here, but across the entire planet."
Markey said it was important to keep the heat up on Turkey.
"President Trump recently made the unconscionable decision to unilaterally withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria, paving the way for Turkish forces to commit atrocities against the Kurds," Markey said. "Much attention has been focused on this issue, and for good reason. But there has not been enough attention focused on the crackdown of the rights of Turkish citizens within Turkey and abroad. There is no better time than right now to sound the alarm."
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden is also backing the bill.