OKC Thunder center Enes Kanter’s politics are the reason he won’t be suiting up for Turkey at EuroBasket 2015 this fall, according to the big fella.
— Hizmet News Portal (@hizmet_news) June 25, 2015
Kanter says he “repeatedly expressed his readiness to join the national squad”, but it was not to be.
Per The Oklahoman (via Turkish daily Today’s Zaman):
Even after he “repeatedly expressed his readiness to join the national squad in the past few weeks,” Kanter was left off coach Ergin Ataman’s roster. In a statement, Kanter said “the reason why I was excluded from the national team is my values and political views.” […] Todayszaman.com reports that Ataman called Kanter twice but could not get in contact with him. Eurobasket2015.org’s announcement on the Turkish roster quotes Ataman as failing to “rebuild bridges” with Kanter before the Championships, set to being in September.
From Eurobasket2015.org: “The only one of the tasks which Ataman had assigned to himself and did not complete was to rebuild bridges with Enes Kanter, so the Oklahoma City Thunder big man is not included on the list. […] “We are proud of the way Enes represents Turkey in the NBA and when I came to the national team I wanted us to start with a clean slate,” Ataman said.
“But he avoided giving a definite answer to my calls and approaches, which is why we did not invite him to the national team this year.” […] Kanter is a restricted free agent this summer. Thunder general manager Sam Presti has indicated that he plans to retain the 23-year-old.