Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter blames Erdogan for detention in Romania

Oklahoma City Thunder's Enes Kanter during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

Jim Mone / AP

Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter is returning to the United States after being detained in a Romanian airport.

Romanian Border Police spokesman Fabian Badila confirmed to The Associated Press that the player left Romania for the United States via London.

Kanter, who is Turkish, said in a video Saturday morning on his Twitter account that the Turkish embassy canceled his passport and he'd been detained for several hours at a Romanian airport.

Kanter said he believed he was held because of his political views. He's been a critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kanter supports Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who opposes Erdogan.

"[Erdogan has] attacked people in Washington. He's a bad, bad man. He is a dictator, and he's the Hitler of our century," Kanter said on Twitter. "I will keep you posted guys, but just pray for us, and I'll tell you guys what's going on."

Earlier this week, Turkish security personnel were accused of attacking protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador's residence when Erdogan was in Washington for a meeting with President Trump. Eleven people were injured, including one police officer. 

Kanter later announced a press conference on Sunday, tweeting, "All good baby! Gonna give press conference tomorrow in [New York]. Got lots of things to say with lots of crazy stories."

Kanter was traveling in Europe and Indonesia with his Enes Kanter Light Foundation when he arrived in the Romanian capital of Bucharest. He posted photos of himself with officers in the airport on Saturday, his 25th birthday.

A Thunder spokesman said the team had been working with the NBA to gather information through appropriate channels.

The 6-foot-11 player, who moved to the U.S. in 2009, was the third overall pick by the Utah Jazz in the 2011 draft. He was traded to the Thunder in 2015.

Kanter has been one of the NBA's best reserves the past two years. This season, he averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds.