Report: Turkey issues arrest warrant for NBA player Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter leaves after speaking to the media during a news conference about his detention at a Romanian airport on May 22, 2017 in New York City. 

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images

The Turkish government has issued an arrest warrant for Turkish-born NBA player Enes Kanter, accusing him of being a member of a terrorist organization, a pro-government newspaper reported Friday.

Kanter, 25, who plays center for the Oklahoma City Thunder, has been a vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and supporter of exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Erdogan blames for a failed military coup attempt in 2016.

The Turkish prosecutor's office says Kanter uses Bylock, an encrypted messaging application, which was created for created for Gulen supporters, according to the Daily Sabah. Prosecutors have apparently sought an international red notice from Interpol in order to locate and arrest Kanter.

In an appearance on "CBS This Morning" on Monday, Kanter said he believes he is one of Erdogan's targets because he has been an outspoken critic -- so much so that Kanter has been disowned by his own family. 

"Of course, it's tough," he said. "But I stand by what I believe. I want to be the voice for those innocent people. And I believe what I'm doing is right."

Kanter also admitted that he believes his life is in danger. 

"I'm getting death threats almost everyday, still," he said. "I believe when I leave this set, when I leave this room, I'm going to keep getting death threats, but you know what? I stand by what I believe."

Last week, Kanter accused the Turkish government of canceling his passport over his political views after he was detained in Romania en route to Turkey. The report Friday said the government canceled the passport over his political views.

"Like the case with other [Fethullah Terrorist Organisation] and terror suspects, Kanter's passport was canceled and this led to a rejection to his entry to Romania where he was on a promotional tour earlier this week," the report states.

Kanter seemed to mock the report on Twitter, writing in Turkish, "You cannot catch me. Hahaha. Don't waste your energy ... I am already going to come to [Turkey] to spit on all of your ugly, hate-filled faces."

Nevertheless, Kanter told "CBS This Morning" that he hopes to return to Turkey one day, and that he'll continue to speak out even if his life is in danger. "There are thousands of journalists, thousands of innocent people, moms, dads, lost their homes, lost their jobs. I want to be the voice of them," he said.


Enes Kanter plays against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. 

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images